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Capt Rattan Singh passes away
Our correspondent

Ludhiana, December 26
Capt Rattan Singh, a former Development Minister of Punjab, a renowned progressive farmer and a freedom fighter, died here today. He was 88. His cremation will take place tomorrow at 12 noon at Model town extension cremation ground.

Capt Rattan Singh, who was a well known political personality of Punjab was also a close associate of Gen Mohan Singh of the INA and had remained with him throughout his life. He was a very dedicated farmer and worked for the welfare of farmers.

He was born in April 1918 and started working in Malaysia after doing Chartered Accountant course from Edinburgh University. When he met Maj Mohan Singh (General Mohan Singh who founded INA) he was so impressed with his personality that he left his job and joined the INA. He vowed to remain with General Mohan Singh forever and consider him his mentor.

Capt Rattan Singh started his political career with his election to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha from Garhshankar constituency. He was inducted as Deputy Minister. He was elected thrice from Garhshankar to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha and was Minister of State for Agriculture in the ministry of Ramkishan and Giani Gurmukh Singh Musafir. In 1967 when Punjab had the first non-Congress government with Justice Gurnam Singh as Chief Minister, he was Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

He was elected to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha in 1972 from Ludhiana rural segment of the Vidhan Sabha and was inducted in the government of Giani Zail Singh and was given the portfolio of agriculture and rural development. He resigned from the Zail Singh government following differences with Giani Zail Singh and never looked back. He led a retired life for 25 years after an active political career and during this period he was instrumental in making many innovations in the farm sector. He set up his farm at Khaira Bet where he used to take three crops in a year and also grew poplar trees.

He was instrumental in the introduction of high yielding varieties of wheat and other crops like PV 18 and Mexican wheat which were tested and tried at the Punjab Agricultural University and led to the ushering in of Green Revolution in Punjab in the 70s. 



Taxing toll: Commuters get a bumpy ride
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Doraha/Ludhiana, December 26
Despite paying a heavy toll tax on the National Highway No. 1 near Doraha, commuters, mainly belonging to this city, have to bear with a patch-ridden road contrary to the promise of a smooth ride.

Patch work has been carried out on the G.T. Road from Doraha to Sherpur Chowk in the city, rendering it an apology for the national highway.

Toll tax barriers were set up at Doraha, Ambala and Karnal three years ago by the NDA government arguing that the money generated from the collection would be used for providing better roads.

However, while the road in Haryana and up to Doraha in Punjab is by and large good, the stretch from Doraha onwards is a bumpy ride due to the patch work. This despite the fact that the maximum revenue is generated from Ludhiana city alone due to its industries.

Residents of the district say they feel cheated as even after paying a huge toll tax, they don’t have a proper road.

They argue that while the authorities could have recarpeted the entire stretch of the road, premix was laid in patches only.

Earlier, commuters thought that the road would be re-laid after carrying our repairs, but after the patchwork nobody turned up.

They said the authorities despite making big money by levying a tax of Rs 45, Rs 60, Rs 120 and Rs 340 on vehicles of different types, were not using the money on maintenance.

‘‘Whenever we have to pass through this road, we pay through our nose. Now, we are feeling discriminated against as we are paying the highest toll tax and getting patchy road in return. Then why should we pay so much of money? ’’ rued Mr Mohinder Singh Virk, a resident.

He added that a number of vehicles, especially those carrying industrial goods, passed through the toll plaza and paid the tax. ‘‘Whenever I stop at the barrier, I have to wait in a queue to pay the tax. This shows how many vehicles pass by everyday. If they are generating so much revenue, they should also maintain the road.’’


The in thing: All-relation cards
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 26
“Dear samdhiji, here's a New Year wish for you, renewing our bonds and making our relationship more strong and firm” or “Special New Year wish for my sali” and so on.

Musical or scented New Year greeting cards seem outdated this time. "All-relation cards" are much in demand, with people specifically asking for cards on particular relations like brother, mother, father, sister, wife, husband, children and friend.

Mr Gurwinder Singh of Archies, Sarabha Nagar market, said “all-relation” greeting cards were in demand as these provided the receiver a sense of belongingness and importance.

People wanted to buy cards, specially made for their loved ones. Medium-sized cards were easily available at prices between Rs 25 and Rs 60.

Besides, big cards were also in demand by youngsters. "Those in love prefer to present their loved ones expensive big cards bearing hearts and flowers, which are available at around Rs 130. Along with these cards, the young ones exchange crystal gifts, flowers and chocolates, too", said Mr Gurvinder Singh.

While those having enough money try to woo their loved ones with expensive cards, the educated class still prefers to buy HelpAge and CRY (Child Rights and You) greeting cards.

Mr Mukesh, a shopkeeper in the Model Town area, said such cards were available in packs of 10 and 20. The price of these cards varied between Rs 60 and Rs 100 per pack as these were the simpler ones. He added, "The educated class does not prefer showy cards. The profit earned through the sale of these cards is spent on underprivileged, elderly and needy children in the country. In a way, the buyers (mostly service class) put their contribution for a noble cause", said Mr Mukesh.



Sankalp yatra gets a rousing reception
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 26
The sankalp yatra being taken out by the Punjab Youth Congress to propagate the policies and programmes of the Punjab Government and mobilise the masses in favour of the party today entered the city with a rousing reception accorded to the state president of the party, Mr Vijay Inder Singla, who led the impressive cavalcade of vehicles, comprising the yatra.

Entering the city limits from Jalandhar Bypass Chowk, the yatra passed through Shivpuri Bypass, New Shivpuri Road, Daresi, Old Sabzi Mandi, Mata Rani Chowk, Clock Tower Chowk, Chaura Bazar, Ghas Mandi, Chowk Div No. 3 and CMC Hospital Road before making a halt near the Civil Hospital. The yatra will go through the Ludhiana Rural Assembly segment tomorrow.

Among those who welcomed the yatra were Mr Surinder Dawar, Parliamentary Secretary, Housing, Urban Development and Power, Punjab, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, city Mayor, the in charge of the Punjab Youth Congress affairs, Mr Naresh Sharma, and Mr Dimple Rana, president, District Youth Congress.

Addressing party workers, Mr Singla said the yatra, which commenced from Amritsar on December 9 to coincide with the birthday of Ms Sonia Gandhi, president, All-India Congress Committee, would touch all of 207 development blocks in Punjab. The yatra had already covered the Majha and Doaba regions where the response of the people was tremendous.

He exhorted the party workers to have greater interaction with all sections of society and ensure that the youth wing of the party played a pivotal role in the coming Assembly elections. “A wave in favour of the Congress has already been created by the vikas yatra undertaken by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and the sankalp yatra will further consolidate the position of the ruling party to ensure that the Congress regained power in Punjab.”



Looking Back — 2006
A good year for police as most murder cases solved
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 26
Despite remaining under pressure for a better part of the year due to a series of murders, dacoities, robberies and snatching incidents taking place, besides carrying the burden of unsolved cases of the previous year, the city police is ending the year 2006 on a high note by solving almost all incidents of sensational crime, especially murders and robberies.

However, the challenge of preventing and solving petty crimes like purse and chain snatching, copper wire theft, which is seen as a stepping stone in a criminal's career, continues to stare in the face of the police administration. With not much being done to contain this type of crime, the residents hope for better work next year.

The police always has a tendency to present a rosy picture in the crime data but this year there was a difference. The police does not seem to have doctored it much by hiding the negatives. Instead, the data highlights prominently where the police lagged in performance compared as compared to the last year.

The high points of the year were definitely the cracking of Vikramjit murder case, the Raghav jeweller murder case and the double murder case of a jeweller and his wife. The police scored on the detection front by arresting all accused.

For the record, more murders took place in 2006 than in 2005. As many as 62 persons were killed in 2006 while 58 were murdered in the previous year. The police scored on tracing 46 cases compared to 43 cases solved in the last years. The highlight was the tracing of 16 out of 28 blind murder cases.

Incidents of culpable homicide reduced to eight from 13 but while last year there was 100 per cent tracing this year, 87 per cent cases were traced.

The city also witnessed high number of dowry deaths with nine women killed this year while last year only five dowry deaths were reported. There were more attempts to murder also this year with 78 incidents being reported in 2006 till date as compared to 51 reported last year. Similarly, the cases of causing hurt shot up to 273 from 213 last year.

A massive rise was witnessed in cases of kidnapping and abduction too. There were 59 abductions and 38 kidnapping this year compared to the figures of 35 and 13 last year.

Dacoities and robberies were a cause of concern with 23 dacoities as compared to 16 last year reported in the figures. Robberies also witnessed a rise with 11 robberies reported this year while last year the figure stood at eight.

SSP A.S Rai said crime was an integral part of society and the police had done well by tracing most of the cases. “There were ups and downs and some serious law and order problems but the police has ended the year on a winning note by tracing most of the cases and busting 15 notorious gangs which were indulging in crime not only in the city but also elsewhere in the country.

He said the arrest of a number of hardened criminals and busting of these gangs had also helped in the prevention of crime as many incidents which these persons were planning had been avoided.

Mr Rai opined that the biggest challenge in front of him was to focus the police work entirely on crime and criminal issues. “The police has been burdened with more social issues instead of criminal ones due to which immense time is wasted”.

He said social issues like marital disputes, children not taking care of aged parents, financial disputes adjustment problem with neighbours etc were some of the social issues which the involved parties brought to the police for solution”. Basically, these issues were not for the police to handle but in the absence of any other agency to handle these the police has to intervene.

(To be continued)



Silicon valley tycoon vows to promote health, education
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, December 26
Making a humble beginning from Majra village in Gurdaspur district and moving on to palatial mansions and a multi million-dollar business empire in Milpitas, USA, Jessie Singh's odyssey is a success story in the true 'Silicon Valley' tradition.

Perseverance and positive attitude kept this Punjabi entrepreneur on path to success, even though it was a long and bumpy road that he travelled. Mr Singh moved to the USA from his native village in 1986 with lots of dream. Today he is President and CEO of BJS Group that deals in various memory products and other electronic components. The company has become a force to be reckoned with in the Silicon Valley in the arena of distribution to small players.

An alumni of PAU, Ludhiana, Jessie Singh, accompanied by his family, is on his annual pilgrimage to his homeland. His commitment to explore the possibilities in the field of healthcare, medical and technical education brought him to Baba Jaswant Singh Dental College, Hospital and Research Institute here today.

On his arrival, he was accorded a warm welcome by the Chairman of the managing committee of the institution. After seeing the standard of dental diagnostic and state-of-the-art treatment facilities being provided by the hospital, as also the world class standard of dental education, Mr Singh was all praise and expressed his will to contribute in all possible ways to the noble cause and the mission of selfless service to the mankind.

Interacting with media persons , Jessie Singh said in comparison to India, America was not plagued by the disease of corruption and discrimination. The political set up, civil and police administration in the USA had a transparent system of working.

He said, "Today it is a competitive world and the Punjabi youth has to be technically empowered to survive this global competition so as to be able to carve a niche for themselves and their country. Punjab has no doubt contributed to the world granary but the time has come for us to outshine in the field of education, technology and healthcare." Mr Singh said he would like to collaborate with organisations like Baba Jaswant Singh Trust and plan further projects towards development and improvisation of educational and medical care facilities in the state.

Baba Jaswant Singh, appreciated the concern shown by Jessie Singh toward the uplift of health and education status in Punjab and blessed him for the realisation of all plans and projects to be initiated with an assurance of committed participation on behalf of this institution

Later, Mr Jessie Singh also visited Gurdwara Nanaksar and the upcoming Sri Guru Amar Das Hospital at sector 32 A, Chandigarh Road here.



Razia Sultana felicitated
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 26
Acknowledging the role played by her in getting the long pending demands for a spacious grain market and supplemented drainage system accepted, residents of the area felicitated Ms Razia Sultana, Parliamentary Secretary and Chairperson, Punjab Waqf Board, at a function organised at the local grain market here today.

Mr Jasbir Singh Dimpa, MLA and Chairman, Punjab Sewerage Board, and Mr Sukhwinder Singh Sukhsarkaria, Chairman, Punjab Marketing Board, were also felicitated on the occasion.

Earlier, leaders had laid foundation stones of the two projects to be completed at a cost of Rs 15 crore and also distributed cheques worth Rs 180 lakh to various social and cultural organisations.

Expressing gratitude to the residents of the area for the love and affection they had showered on her, Mr Razia Sultana held that she had tried her best to come up to their expectations. "By bringing grants for development of the area I have performed by constitutional and moral duty, and have not done any favour to anyone. It is all due to your blessings that the almighty enabled me succeed in fulfilling long pending demands, including grain market and sewerage system supplementation," maintained Ms Razia adding that Capt Amarinder Singh had approved projects costing more than Rs 100 crore till now.

Mr Jatinder Bhola, President, Municipal Council, Mr Ravinder Kumar, president local unit of Congress and Mr Ashok Goyal chairman, Bajrang Akhara, reiterated that the MLA had played an unprecedented role in bringing grants for development of the area.

Earlier, Ms Razia Sultana laid the foundation stone of the new grain market at Jagera Road and sewerage scheme at Railway Road. A sum of Rs 15 crore would be spent on the two projects, claimed the leaders.

Mr Harjinder Singh Kaka, Chairman of the Market Committee, Mr Nirbhai Singh, member, District Planning Board, Mr Pawan Sharma, former president, Arhtiya Association, Mr Tarsem Garg, president, Help Line Club, Mr Kedar Kapila, group leader, Ahhmedgarh Vidya Parcharak Sabha and Mr Naresh Bhutta, president, Arhtiya Association, were present on the occasion.



Journey down memory lane for DMCH alumni
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, December 26
Old memories and spirits were revived at the alumni meet of Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) here on Sunday at Dumra Auditorium. The meet was organized to celebrate the silver jubilee of MBBS admission batches of 1976, 1977 and 1978.

Dr Sandeep Puri, Medical Superintendent and an alumnus of DMCH, extended a hearty welcome to his old college mates and the dignitaries present on the occasion. He described the occasion as a homecoming of the alumni and while recalling some of the cherished memories during their stay in the campus.

The meet began with a colorful cultural programme, followed by felicitation ceremony. The alumni were delighted to meet their old batch mates and to see their alma mater evolve into a premier medical institute of the region. They also got a chance to interact with their erstwhile faculty, present at the event. Some of the alumni took to the stage to share their glorious days at the institution.

In his address, Dr Jagdeep Whig, Chairman, DMC Alumni Committee said that holding of this event every year, helped to strengthen the relationship between the alumni and the Institute. Dr Rajinder Mittal, Organizing Secretary of the Alumni Committee extended a vote of thanks to the audience and stressed the need for getting more alumni registered under the umbrella of DMC Old Students Association.

A newsletter was released during the occasion by Guest of Honour Maj Gen V.P. Pathania, Commandant, Command Hospital, Chandimandir, and a DMC Alumni from batch 1966.

Prominent among others present at the occasion were Mr Prem Gupta, Secretary, DMCH Managing Society, Dr N. Dubey and Dr L.S. Chawla, both former Principals of DMCH, Dr Daljit Singh, Principal, Dr Jagdeep Whig, Vice Principal, Dr Tej K. Kaul, Convener, DMC Alumni Committee and Dr M.L. Gupta, Professor and Head of Surgery.

A scintillating fashion and choreography show, presented by faculty members, enthralled the audience and marked the conclusion of the meet.



Valmikis condemn Badal's statement
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana December 26
The Bharatiya Valmiki Dharm Samaj (BHAVDAS) has condemn the statement of Mr Prakash Singh Badal, President, SAD, made at Gurdaspur recently in which he had said, if returned to power, the Akali Dal would provide Christians similar facilities like Dalits.

Mr Devraj Advaiti, State Secretary, BHAVDAS, in a press statement yesterday said Dalits constituted 40 per cent of the total population in the state and 25 per cent reservation for them was already disproportionate and if the Christians were added in this reservation quota, where would Dalits go? Because of this statement, Dalits would suffer financially, politically and socially and this would also give rise to religious conversions, he added.

He asked its office- bearers not to take too much interest in their respective political parties, rather work for the benefit and betterment of the organisation.

Among others present at the function were Dr Dev Singh Advaiti, Mr Vijay Danav, Mr Vorottam Raj, Mr R.C. Tyagi, Mr Balwinder Billu, Mr Naresh Bains, Mr Eklavya Manak, Mr Balwinder Babrik etc.



LCC honours Wander, others
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 26
The Ludhiana Citizen Council (LCC) organised a felicitation function here last evening to mark its annual day. Dr G.S. Wander, chief cardiologist, Hero DMC Heart Institute, Mr Ashok Malhotra, a coloniser and Mr Thakkar, AGM, State Bank of India, among others, were honoured for outstanding contribution to their respective fields.

Mr Darshan Arora, chairman and Mr Ashok Juneja, secretary general exhorted the members to maintain close coordination with the city residents and take up more and more activities towards the welfare of the society at large.

Entertainment games, tombola, couple shows and several other fun-filled programmes marked the celebrations as Mr Ramesh Banda and Mr Ravi Kant, convener and co-convener, respectively, of the function distributed prizes to office- bearers of the council.

Mr Harminder Singh (Hummy), president, youth wing of the LCC, motivated the fellow members for organising medical, health awareness and blood donation camps for the suffering humanity. He also volunteered to conduct regular meetings with senior officers of various government departments.



Selection process unfair, say workers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 26
Multi-purpose Health Workers (male), hailing from Punjab, staged a protest outside the office of Punjab Health Department, Sector 34, here yesterday. Casting aspersions on the selection process being carried out by the department, they alleged that irregularities were being committed as officials have been ignoring the merit list.



IndusInd Bank to open 19 more branches
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 26
IndusInd Bank Limited said today that it had received fresh authorisation from the Reserve Bank of India for opening 19 more branches. That was in addition to the 21 licences the bank received from the RBI earlier this year of which it had already opened seven branches.

Mr Bhaskar Ghose, MD and CEO of the bank, said: “This new set of 19 branch licences over and above the existing ones will help countrywide expansion of the bank services, especially in the North East region. We already have 86 off-site ATMs and licences for 100 more have been received recently. An arrangement with the State Bank Group, MITR consortium and Corporation Bank for the use of their 15,000 ATMs for IndusInd Bank customers is in place.

“We are now also a part of the NFS network of the IDBRT (RBI), which enables our customers to have access to ATMs of 23 member banks.”



Abhishek Industries gets award
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 26
Abhishek Industries, a flagship company of the Trident Group, has bagged the National Award for Excellence in Corporate Governance for 2006. The award was presented to its representative in Chennai on December 23.

The company said the award was conferred on it in recognition of its innovative practices, board systems and procedures, high standard of disclosure and transparency to stakeholders. The company was also appreciated for its proactive approach in complying with regulations, adopting best management practices, management initiatives and accountability.

In the citation, instituted by the Institute of Company Secretaries in India (ICSI), it was stated that core values of the company are strong pillars of its governance system, stated the company.



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