L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Farmers block rail, road traffic
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 13
Hundreds of farmers today blocked the rail and road traffic at Qila Raipur for two hours against the forcible acquisition of land of farmers for big industrial houses.

Vehicles and two trains were stranded for two hours, causing inconvenience to commuters.

The call for the agitation was given by the Kul Hind Kirti Kisan Union, BKU Ekta (Ugrahan), Jamhoori Kisan Sabha and Punjab Kisan Sabha.

Briefing reporters about the blockade, the spokesman for these organisations, Mr Kuldeep Singh said, the blockade was peaceful. They were aware of the difficulties caused by the blockade but they had no option to make their point.

He said the way the government was forcing the farmers to part with their land indicated that it was prejudiced against the farmers even as it was going all out to help industrialists who could always purchase the land at the market price.

He referred to the forcible acquisition of land in Barnala for the Trident group of industries. He said the farmers would continue with their agitation until the land was denotified and returned to the farmers.

The farmers also said all pending loans against them should be waived as they had to suffer due to the policies of the government. They also demanded a hike in the MSP of various crops and enhancement of subsidy. 



Shop owners seethe as MC squad spares car dealers
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 13
A squad of Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, which had gone to take action against some car dealers in I-Block Market in Sarabha Nagar today returned with the whole paraphernalia after issuing a mild warning to the alleged defaulters as the cars continued to remain parked in the space meant for market vehicles, throughout the day.

Led by an Inspector, a team of 15-20 employees alongwith a tow away vehicle, had reached the market following a complaint by residents of the area in the morning. The residents had complained that the second hand car market was being shifted to Sarabha Nagar clandestinely and this was spoiling the atmosphere of the posh colony.

After reaching the spot today, the Inspector spoke to the car mechanics and left without touching even a single car. Before leaving he told the shopkeepers that he had issued a warning to the car mechanics to shift their vehicles.

‘‘We were shocked to see that the Inspector did not ask his team to tow away even a single car. Where was the need to bring that tow away vehicle if they just had to do this drama? They should have taken action today as the market space is being occupied illegally.’’ said an angry shopkeeper.

The residents had started a signature campaign against the problem and had submitted their complaints to the Principal Secretary, Local Bodies, City Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, district Police Chief, Mr A.S Rai and area councillor, Ms Amrit Varsha Rampal.

The shopkeepers and residents of the area said they had purchased houses and shops in the posh area in order to live amid peaceful environs. But holding of such bazaars was becoming a nuisance for them.

Moreover, the parking space was being used by some motor mechanics also who were carrying out repairs in the area meant for parking cars of customers coming to the market. This was causing a lot of inconvenience to the customers.

A similar problem was being faced in Feroze Gandhi market till some time ago and the traders had even knocked at the doors of High Court in this connection. The latter had directed the administration to keep the cars away from parking lots.

The genesis of this constant problem was in the inconvenience caused to the visitors and shopkeepers who had spent crores of rupees to buy property in the posh area. They had been demanding shifting of the car bazaar from the market. They had, however, moved the High Court after they failed to get any response from the local authorities.

They claim that even though they had spent huge sums to buy shops in the area thinking it would develop into an upbeat market over the years, the occupation of the pavements and other open areas for parking cars, use of parks as washing spaces and discharging dirty water on the roads by these dealers was ruining their business. They alleged that the parking of hundreds of cars in the market left no space for the visitors to park their vehicles and also caused serious security and fire hazards to the high rise buildings. 



Kotnis hospital MS booked in molestation case
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 13
Dr Kotnis Acupuncture Hospital here is in the middle of another controversy with the registration of a case of outraging the modesty of a former woman employee against the hospital's Medical Superintendent, Secretary of the management committee and a nurse. They have also been booked under various Sections of the SC-ST Act for passing derogatory remarks against the woman.

The hospital had recently terminated the services of a doctor on the charges of possessing fake degrees.

According to an FIR registered at Salem Tabri police station, Medical Superintendent Inderjit Singh, Management Committee Secretary Kundan Lal Malhotra, who is also a former president of the District Bar Council and a para medical employee, Anu Chawla, have also been booked.

The complainant had approached the National Commission for Women(NCW) alleging that the local police was not paying heed to her grievances and had not taken any action against the accused.

On the directions of the NCW the police conducted an inquiry and recommended registration of the case.

However, the accused MS, Dr Inderjit Singh, said the police had conducted a one-sided inquiry into the case. He claimed that his name has already been cleared in previous inquiries and he has been booked just because he refused to ‘give’ money to some police officials.



Brokers surrender Rs 2.05 cr income

Ludhiana, December 13
Income tax surveys on four local firms of share brokers yesterday yielded rich dividends as three of these companies made a voluntary surrender of concealed income to the extent of Rs 2.05 crore.

Even though officials were tightlipped about details, it was learned that M/s D.P. Gandhi and Company, M/s Bhatia Naveen and Company and M/s A.K. Sharma, had “agreed for addition of varying amounts to their disclosed income” for the year and payment of due taxes. However, investigation is still continuing at M/s P. Dhingra and Company.

Several teams of income tax officials under the supervision of Mr Sanjeev Dahiya, Additional Commissioner, Range VI, had launched the survey on the business premises of these brokers.

The IT sleuths examined documents, books of account, record of trading in shares and commodities and computer data. Information was also collected from owners, directors and key employees of these firms to ascertain the extent of tax evasion.

Sources in the department indicated that action might be initiated against heavy buyers and sellers of shares and commodities on the basis of the data collected from the brokers. 



Bank strike today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 13
On the call given by the National Convention of Workers for an all-India general strike on December 14 for various common demands of the general working class, the Punjab Bank Employees Federation will observe strike on that day and hold a rally in front of Canara Bank, Bharat Nagar Chowk.

Mr Naresh Gaur, secretary, Punjab Bank Employees Federation, yesterday said the government was pursuing its policies under the agenda of globalisation and liberalisation in the name of economic and labour reforms.

These policies were adversely affecting the workers, their jobs, job security, wages, living standards and trade union rights. In the name of privatisation, the public sector was being dismantled.



Mayor's roadshow fails to impress
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 13
The Mayor's road show today -- aimed at redressing grievances of public -- turned out to be a damp squib as it simply passed through 17 wards and did not stop to listen to anyone’s problems.

Mayor Nahar Singh Gill, who has been eyeing the Ludhiana Rural Assembly constituency, started the road show named “Mayor Aaj Aaapke Dwar” from Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar in the morning. Barring a few places where some residents came up with their complaints regarding water bills, roads and streetlights, no grievances were redressed on the spot, as was being publicised.

The Mayor sat in an open vehicle along with some supporters and DCC chief Jagmohan Sharma and covered 17 wards falling in the rural constituency. He had claimed that he would cover all wards in four road shows and the first phase concluded today.

The road show started from Urban Estate Phase-I, Dugri. His convoy passed through Gill Road, Shimla Puri, Janta Nagar, Kot Mangal Singh, Gyaspura, Sherpur, Jamalpur, Metro road, Jiwan Nagar, Guru Arjan Dev Nagar, Tajpur Chowk, Tibba road, Rahon road, Kakowal road and Noorwala road before culminating at Aman Nagar.

While the Mayor said he was satisfied with his outcome of the day, residents of the area from where he passed said he wanted a ticket and hence visiting them. They said he had not done anything to redress their grievances and had only caused traffic chaos with his convoy. 



'Muslim reservation issue not to impact NDA unity'
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana December 13
The BJP general secretary, Ms Sushma Swaraj, today said that there was no threat to the National Democratic Alliance in view of the Muslim reservation controversy. She agreed that there was a difference of opinion among some of the constituent members, but that did not mean the alliance was on the rocks.

Talking to reporters before addressing a few public rallies here today, Mr Swaraj pointed out, the alliance was formed with a common minimum programme. "We may or may not agree on all points", she pointed out, while adding, "if there was agreement on everything, it would not be an alliance but a single political party".

The BJP leader defended her party's stand on the issue reservation for Muslims. She said, the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, had deliberately mentioned the name of the Muslims with an eye on the forthcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh. She said, they were not against ameliorating the plight of the deprived. "But we are certainly against dividing people along the communal lines", she said.

She warned against diluting the sentence to Afzal Guru, who has been sentenced to death after being convicted in the Parliament attack case.

She said, any dilution in his sentence would hurt the feelings of the patriotic forces and the families of those who laid down their lives while safeguarding Parliament.

Ms Swaraj also expressed grave concern over the rising inflation. She pointed out, the prices of all essential commodities, including dal and atta had skyrocketed during the Congress-led United Progress Alliance regime.

She said, even the UPA allies were concerned over the rising prices. She claimed that during the NDA regime, the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, would personally monitor the prices of essential commodities on a day-to-day basis that was the reason the prices never rose during that period.

She said, the rising prices would be an important issue for the coming elections in various states, including Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. She observed, people were disillusioned with false promises of the Congress and were certain to teach them a lesson.



SAD, BJP sound poll bugle
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 13
The SAD-BJP alliance today started its election campaign with some senior leaders, including Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Ms Sushma Swaraj, Mr Avinash Rai Khanna and Mr Dara Singh. Joint rallies were held at Sunder Nagar and the Field Ganj area.

BJP general secretary Sushma Swaraj said the winds of change had already started blowing in Punjab. She said: “The writing is clear on the wall with people having made up their mind to return the SAD-BJP alliance to power under the leadership of Mr Badal.”

She said the UPA government had failed the expectations of the masses and the Congress government in Punjab had proved to be worse. Her party was not against providing special concessions to the deprived and weaker sections of society but this must not be done along communal lines. “We must not divide the deprived in the name of religion,” she remarked.



Contestants ready to grab ‘Miss World Punjaban’ title

Ludhiana December 13
About 20 participants vying for the 'Miss World Punjaban 2006' title are all set to present themselves in best possible manner before the elite audience of Ludhiana on December 16. Apart from India, participants have specially flown-in from Australia and Canada to express attachments with their roots.

Ms Japji Khaira, a young damsel from Australia who migrated from Amritsar 10 years ago, said she could not forget the rich culture and traditions of Punjab all these years. "It is my ultimate dream to settle-down here (Punjab) only. Back in Australia, I always tried to promote my culture. I am here because my parents supported and encouraged me", she said.

For beautiful Gurleen Garelli, a final year MCM DAV student from Chandigarh, it was a title with a difference. The contest provided a platform for exposure without vulgarity. "Had it been some other modeling assignment, my parents would have stopped me. But this clean contest ask participants to be attached to their roots, traditions and culture", said Gurleen. The contest would be telecast live worldwide on December 16 from GRD Academy. The pageant will be presented by ETC Channel Punjabi and 'Sabhyacharak Sath Punjab'.

Mr Jasmer Singh Dhatt, Founder Chairman of Sabhyacharak Sath Punjab that the event would be most exclusive event ever presented to the lovers of Punjabi culture. The contestants have come from Haryana, Chandigarh, Patiala, Sangrur, Ferozepur, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Nawanshahr and even Jammu and Kashmir. The damsels, trying hard to win this title, will compete in Bridal Round, Solo-Dance Round, Heritage Quiz Round and Giddha Round. — TNS



Wire thieves plug in fear among shopkeepers
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 13
A gang of copper-wire thieves has become quite a scare for shopkeepers in the Model Town area and the fact that a police station is situated in the main market chowk only too is no relief for them.

The claims of the city police about efficient night patrolling in the area and the deployment of CPOs to provide security to the residents too have come under serious scrutiny because of the repeated thefts in the area.

The gang members is striking regularly at different shops at night, stealing wires from air-conditioners, generators or any other wires they can lay their hands on. Mr Taranjit Singh, a businessman representing the traders, said the police had failed to provide them relief while the gang was striking repeatedly.

He said the matter was not just about the loss of a few hundred rupees suffered in the burglaries but of the scare that the gang was causing. ‘‘Today, they are stealing wires tomorrow they would break into the shops.’’

He said the gang had already struck at Hemkunt Property Dealers, Koutons showroom, Puri laboratory, Stuffe Shoppe etc. And to add insult to injury a group of CPOs (community police officers), supposed to provide them security at night, offered to compensate the shopkeepers by buying them the wires.

He rued that the thieves were not even scared of the fact that there was a police station in the market.



Pensioners to observe their day on December 17

Ludhiana, December 13
Pensioners of this district will observe Pensioners Day on December 17 at Pensioners Bhawan, under the aegis of the Pensioners Information Centre Management Committee.

Mr Gurmel Singh, general secretary of the committee, in a press statement today said that the pensioners observed the day all over the country as a tribute to the landmark verdict by the Supreme Court on December 17, 1982, whereby it had held that pension was a right and not alms to beggars. Octogenarians will also be honoured on the occasion. — TNS



In-laws booked for usurping property
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 13
Acting on the directions of Mr Harinder Singh Chahal, SSP, Sangrur, the police has booked 10 persons under Sections 306 and 120-B of the IPC for allegedly usurping belongings of the owner of a gas agency after the death of his wife 10 years ago.

According to an FIR registered on the statement of Jaipal Singh, son of Bant Singh, owner of Ahmedgarh Gas Agency, Bhupinder Kaur, his mother-in-law and nine of her relatives had allegedly usurped his belongings worth lakhs and taken his passport with an intention to misuse it.

The defendants on the other had earlier accused the complainant of misguiding the authorities and various courts in connection with the succession of the gas agency that was started in the name of his wife. Supplies to the said agency remained suspended on various occasions.

Jaipal Singh was practising at the district courts when he married Malwinder Kaur, daughter of the main accused. Since Malwinder had no brother, Jaipal Singh started living at his in-laws house. The complainant claimed that he had shifted all his personal belongings, including jewellery and other valuables, to his in-laws house after his marriage. Malwinder died in 1996, after which the accused allegedly entered into a conspiracy to usurp his belongings, Jaipal Singh alleged.

“Though I remained silent for a long time after the death of my wife to avoid embarrassment, my mother-in-law conspired with her relatives and put a lock on my room to prevent my entry. They did not let me take my documents,” Jaipal Singh told the police. 



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