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Charges framed against 4 in Reema murder case
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 8
The Additional Sessions Judge, Mr H.P.S. Mahal, has framed charges against four accused for murdering businesswoman Reema Jain on July 30 last year and conspiring to destroy evidence in the case.

The accused, Anil Jain (elder brother-in-law of Reema Jain), Jasvir Singh of Narangwal, Kuldip Singh of Mandiani and Tarsem Singh of Kotmana, Jagraon, have been charged under Sections 120-B, 364, 34, 201, 404, 354 and 329 of the IPC.

The accused had conspired to abduct and murder Reema Jain. After succeeding in doing so, they threw the body in a septic tank on the Arihant Textile Mills (owned by Anil Jain) complex with the intention of destroying the evidence.

The judge further charged that Kuldip Singh misappropriated the watch worn by the deceased and took possession of the keys of her car (PB-10BA-2340). That amounted to illegal possession, punishable under Section 404 of the IPC, the judge said.

Tarsem Singh has been charged with misappropriating a gold ring of the deceased. Jasbir Singh has been charged with illegally taking possession of a diamond ring set worn by the deceased when she was done to death.

The judge also charged the accused with stripping Reema with the intention of outraging her modesty. They have also been charged with causing grievous hurt to Reema Jain with the intention of extorting money from her as there was a litigation over some property between Anil Jain and Reema.

The case witnessed many upheavals ever since the businesswoman went missing in the last week of July last year. The police had arrested Avtar Singh Tari for the murder, but it was later proved that he had nothing to do with the crime.

In February this year, a Jagraon police team, led by SSP R.K. Jaiswal, solved the case by recovering the body from the factory of Anil Jain.

The Jagraon police won the Best Crime Detection Award-2006 for cracking the case.

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PAU prepares blueprint for Rs 100 cr utilisation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 8
Following the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approval on Thursday for a special grant of Rs 100 crore to PAU,the Vice-Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh, today held a meeting of Deans and Directors on the utilisation of the money as projected in the blueprint. He called upon the university officials to engage themselves in assembling the nuts and bolts to put into operation the special grant.

The meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs was chaired by the Prime Minister. The Expenditure Finance Committee of the Department of Agriculture, Research and Education (ICAR) had approved the plan utilisation project submitted by the PAU.

While expressing his gratitude to those who had helped the PAU to get this grant, Dr Aulakh said "this grant will be utilised in developing new technologies to provide momentum to the productivity, value addition, enhance input use efficiency and conserve natural resources".

The Deans and Directors who had prepared the blueprint for the utilisation of this money were asked to expedite the process of implementing the proposed projects.

"This is an honour as also a challenge to the university scientists to rise to the occasion and articulate the aspirations of the people and endeavour to develop new technologies to usher in the second green revolution", he said.Money would be used for equipment (Rs 70.87 crore), new works (Rs 13.50 crore),vehicles (Rs 36 lakh) and furniture and fixtures (Rs 15.26 crore).

This money would be used for strengthening and networking of the four constituents colleges,namely, College of Agriculture, College of Agricultural Engineering, College of Basic Sciences and Humanities and College of Home Science, besides by the Directorates of Research and Extension Education and on new infrastructure. 

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Fuel octroi: MC draws industry ire
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 8
The Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry has ridiculed the action of the MC which had issued notices to industrial units, demanding a detailed account of the consumption of petrol and diesel from September 1 and the payment of octroi thereon.

Mr P.D. Sharma, president of the chamber, said in a statement here today that the government had abolished octroi in Punjab from September 1 and even if petrol and diesel were still to attract octroi, the onus should be on owners of petrol and diesel outlets and not on consumers.

Under the octroi regime, the payment of octroi on petrol and diesel was the responsibility of petrol stations, he pointed out.

Terming the action of the civic body as arbitrary and uncalled for, he said the MC officials were being unjustified in threatening the industrial units to provide details of consumption or face penal action in case of non-compliance.

According to Mr Sharma there was resentment and panic among the units. He maintained that in case octroi was payable on petrol and diesel, the MC ought to take up the matter with the dealers who were bringing petrol and diesel within the city limits, rather than causing harassment to the industry.

He said it was all the more baffling that the MC had singled out the industrial sector for providing details of fuel consumption while commercial and individual consumers of these items were supposed to be using octroi-paid fuel.

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Teachers have MCPI (U) backing
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 8
The Punjab State Committee of the MCPI (U) has supported the "just and peaceful" agitation of private-aided schoolteachers who are courting arrests in Chandigarh in support of their demands.

Mr Kuldip Singh, state secretary of the Punjab MCPI (U), said the state Congress led by Capt Amarinder Singh had not only reneged on its promises to teachers, but had also adopted a confrontationist path against teachers and managements of private-aided schools.

He said even women teachers had not been spared and had been put into jails, leading to the closure of schools in the state.

He urged the Punjab Government to accept their demands and release the teachers.

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Budda nullah also polluting Sutlej
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 8
Although an expert committee constituted by the Punjab State Human Rights Commission on the Budda nullah has looked into various aspects and also made some recommendations, more investigations need to be carried out about the intensity of pollution in the Sutlej by the nullah since it merges into the river at Walipur village.

The water turns black at the Walipur confluence itself and continues up to the Harike lake where the Beas merges into the Sutlej. There is no fish in the Sutlej from Walipur to Harike. The Beas waters mix with the Sutlej to dilute the impact of the nullah.

Experts say a survey needs to be conducted to find out the level of toxicity in the Sutlej. The expert committee has restricted its investigation to Ludhiana and its outskirts.

They say even the quality of fish needs to be checked as it might be suffering from diseases due to pollution. It may also be hazardous to migratory birds.

The depth and distance of the pollution should also be taken into account.

Since the water is used for drinking and irrigation in Ferozepore, Faridkot, Muktsar and parts of Rajasthan, a study should be conducted about the impact on soil and the health of humans. 

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City gets four more courts

Ludhiana, December 8
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has set up four more courts in the city for swift disposal of cases. Out of four, three Judges joined here today. Those who joined include Mr Amit Thind, Ms Amita Singh and Ms Jasbir Kaur. — OC

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Debt main reason for farmers’ depression
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana December 8
A lot of farmers in Punjab were suffering from depression and illness . The reason was their (farmers') failure to pay back the loans due to high cost of agricultural inputs, insufficient income generation, uneconomical size of landholding, high rate of interest and diversion of loan etc.

A study 'Indebtedness among Punjabi Farmers-Causes and Consequence' conducted by Ms Sonia Goyal under the supervision of Dr Sukhdev Singh revealed that loans also led to socio-economic degradation, family dispute and drug addiction among the farmers of Punjab.

The study was conducted on hundreds of middle-aged farmers having farm possessions like tractors, threshers, tubewells, submersible pumps, draught animals etc.

Majority of farmers had acquired credit ranging from Rs 1,00,000 - Rs 5,00,000 due to reasons like purchase of agricultural inputs, farm machinery and fulfillment of socio-religious obligations. The average outstanding loans increased with the increase in farm size whereas on per acre basis, there was an inverse relation. The diversion of credit for unproductive purposes and attitude of show-off by way of possessing durable goods were found other factors for keeping the farmers into debt-trap. Using of loan for productive purposes, shunning of attitude of show-off and check on misutilisation were some of the suggestions which could help farmers.

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Family welfare camps from December 12
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 8
The Health Department will organise six family welfare camps at Dr BL Kapur Memorial Hospital from December 12 onwards.

Giving this information here today, Dr Yash Pal Singla, Civil Surgeon, said women undergoing tubectomy at these camps would be given a cash incentive of 
Rs 150 and a woollen shawl.

The motivator in each case would get Rs 25. Similarly, the men, living below poverty line, opting for non-scalpel vasectomy would get a cash incentive of Rs 650 while the motivator would get Rs 50.

According to Dr Singla, the camps would be held on December 12 and 19, January 2 
and 16, February 6 and 20.

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Ludhianvis crazy about new cars
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 8
Ludhianvis are famous for flaunting riches. Be it their bungalows, electronic gadgets or designer clothes, they want to show them off. And now, they are changing cars as fast as others would change their clothes.

Irrespective of the make of the car, quite a number of people here are keen to buy new cars.

Car dealers said on an average six to seven cars were launched by various companies every year and Ludhiana is the best market in this part of region. Enquiries start pouring in before the launch of the vehicles.

Mr Harkirat Singh, CEO, Gulzar Motors, said various factors influenced buyers to replace their old cars after every two-three years. Firstly, the city had the highest per capita income in Punjab. The second reason was easy instalments offered by banks and also companies had started giving easy options for exchange.

"Today, people get best prices for both old and new cars. The range of the latest C and B segment cars and mid-segment cars had increased so much that 28 companies nationwide were providing a wide choice of new cars. People with scooters or motorcycles have switched over to Marutis because of the reasonable price. Those with Marutis are upgrading to Zen, Wagon-R, Santro, Indica and Alto. Attractive schemes also lure customers," he said.

According to Dr Naresh Malhotra of Stan Autos, certain people were always on a lookout for new, trendy cars and the trend had picked up recently because of the launch of imported cars in the market.

A business family said it did not keep a car for more than three years. "Cars have become a status symbol. We make sure that we get the same number for all our cars. People recognise us by our car numbers," a family member said.

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Mayor inaugurates senior citizens’ home
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 8
City Mayor Nahar Singh Gill today inaugurated a senior citizens’ home in the green belt park at G.T. Road here today.

Area councillor Madan Lal Bagga said that the home was a long-pending demand of the elderly in the area and the MC had spent Rs 7 lakh on the structure.

He said that control of the home would be given to a management committee that would be constituted after some time.

Mr Bahadur Chand Chitkara, president, senior citizens’ home, said that the elderly of the area were happy with the project as they would be able to spend their free time in recreational activities and would be meeting their counterparts there.

The area councillor said that he had got development done in the area worth Rs 4 crores. He said all the works were completed well before the deadline.

Mr Harpal Singh Sangowal, Chairman, Buddhewal Sugar Mill, Mr Bhupinder Singh Makkar, Chairman, senior citizens’ home, and Mr Satpal Beri, councillor of ward number 61, were also present on the occasion.

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Commuters face problems
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 8
With most of the private buses, plying on the routes connecting the town with surrounding villages and other habitation, being hired by supporters of the Congress and the SAD for carrying their activists to Moga and Badal villages, residents of the area faced inconvenience during journeys. Commuters, including employees, traders and students were the worst hit.

Enquiries revealed that a majority of the private buses running on various routes had been hired by supporters of two major parties of the state. This caused inconvenience to passengers who remained stranded at various stops for hours in the morning. Those who were yet to start their journey preferred to postpone their schedule for obvious reasons. Owners of tempos plying on link roads made a fast buck today by carrying extra passengers.

Mr Narinder Sharma, a photographer of the local Mahavir Road area, said he had to walk down for more than 3 km to Pohir village to catch a bus for Sangrur. "After waiting for a long time, when I was reminded of the probability of buses not coming to the bus stops, I walked down to Pohir village and was lucky to catch a bus destined for Malerkotla," said Mr Sharma, adding that the vehicle was overcrowded with the passengers.

Mr Surinder Kumar, a trader of Subhash Nagar, had to drive his car to fetch her grand daughter, Isha Sharma, a student of Guru Nanak Ayurvedic College, Gopalpur. Isha along with her fellow students used to commute by bus earlier. 

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At the Crossroads
An inimitable poet and storyteller

Tarannum Riyaz has gone up the ladder steadily. She met me around 10 years ago at Rashtrapati Nivas, Shimla. The Indian Institute of Advanced Study had organised a three-day national-level seminar on Sa'dat Hasan Manto, a distinguished Urdu short story writer. There she read out her short story and recited some poems in the meet the author programme, which was held in the evening daily. She impressed the audience with her impeccable style of narration and recitation.

I met her again when she came there to participate in another seminar during my stay at the institute from 1998 to 1999. At that time, she had come up with her first collection of Urdu short stories, Yeh Tung Zameen (1998). Shortly afterwards followed another such collection, Ababeelen Laut Aayengi (2000). She had included a short story “Pothhi Parhi Parhi”, based on a character in search of something he had never lost. Hence, his frustration and disillusionment.

Later, I had the pleasure of translating some of her poems into English for the Sahitya Akademi’s bimonthly English journal “Indian Literature”.

As a poet, she has a unique style. She appears to be her true self. Her effort has been to catch the fleeting impression and to capture the passing thought. She seems to be engaged in giving poetic form to a thought.

In 2004, she gave me a pleasant surprise by sending her first novel, Moorti. It was based on the statue of Mabel Emily installed at her grave in a remote area in Kashmir by her husband Lieut-Col J.A. Cunningam in 1904. For her, this statue was both a discovery and a revelation. The statue is a marvel in marble that can attract the tourists and, at the same time, it reveals the warmth of love for a departed wife.

Tarannum Riyaz was born in Srinagar (Kashmir) where she received her education till postgraduation level. She worked for sometime as an announcer and newsreader with the All-India Radio, Srinagar, where she received kudos for her dulcet voice. Now she is in New Delhi, actively associated with the All-India Radio as well as television. She participates in literary seminars and poetical symposiums across the country.

She is a quiet person, but does not hesitate to give expression to her views when the occasion demands. She visited Ludhiana last year to take part in a Urdu mushaira held at the Nehru Siddhant Kendra. At that time, she was honoured with Adeeb Award by the Sahir Cultural Academy, of which Dr Kewal Dhir is the general secretary. That year, she participated in a cultural extravaganza at Kapurthala where she made her mark as an exponent of women liberation. She is married to Dr Riyaz Punjabi, Professor of Social Sciences at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She has two sons.

In another collection of her short stories, Yimbirzal (2004), she has included a short story, Shehar, which depicts the plight of a newly urbanised family. This story, in my view, needs to be translated into various languages, besides English. It stands to be counted among the best short stories in the world. Most of her fictional work is in poetic style and its impact is reminiscent of the literary creations of Mumtaz Shireen and Amrita Pritam. Basically she is a poet and her first collection of poems, Purani Kitabon ki Khushbu (2005), has secured an honourable place for her in the Urdu literary world. Indeed her sensitivity finds expression in her poems, which are like the undercurrents of the sea of life.

The landscape of her feelings is familiar, while the images of her emotions have the freshness of their own. She is seldom in a mood to dwell upon the theme of love as a revolt against social pressure. Her feminine sensibility gets expressed when the ethical aspects are not overshadowed by her aesthetic approach to the enigma of life. For her, love emanates from the familial relations which make human life meaningful.

— N.S. Tasneem

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Forum against SAD (A) merger with Front

Ludhiana, December 8
A meeting of the Neevi Soch Forum was held here today to discuss the pre-poll scenario in Punjab.

The forum spokesperson said they were worried about the emerging alliance between the Left parties, Lok Bhalai Party, Bahujan Samaj, Akali factions and the SAD(A) and certain Panthic outfits which had no political standing, under the banner of Panjab Front. The forum felt that the SAD(A) should go it alone. — TNS

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