L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Outrage over Saddam’s hanging
Shahi Imam calls for boycott of US goods
Tribune News Service

The Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid, Ludhiana, Maulana Habib-u-Rehman Ludhianavi, talks to mediapersons during a protest against the hanging of Saddam Hussein, in Ludhiana on Saturday
The Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid, Ludhiana, Maulana Habib-u-Rehman Ludhianavi, talks to mediapersons during a protest against the hanging of Saddam Hussein, in Ludhiana on Saturday. — Photo by I.V.

Ludhiana, December 30
Hundreds of Muslims today staged a demonstration against the hanging of deposed Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. They alleged that his hanging was executed just before Id to demoralise the Muslims across the world. The Muslims have called for boycott of all US goods and simple Id celebrations on Monday.

Led by the Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid here, Maulana Habib-u-Rehman Ludhianavi, the Muslims took to the streets in the Field Ganj area immediately after the news of Saddam's execution flashed on the television channels. The protest was sharp and spontaneous.

The protesters carried banners and computer printed handbills and placards glorifying the “sacrifice” of Saddam for the cause of Islam. The handbills read: “Saddam your sacrifice will usher in another revolution..." The Muslims have been terming his execution a sacrifice since it comes on the occasion of the holy festival of Id, when Muslims offer sacrifices of animals all over the world.

Maulana Habib-u-Rehman called for the boycott of all American goods. He said the Muslims would wear black badges during the Id celebrations. The Id this year would be observed in a “simple and sombre” mood as a mark of respect and tribute to the great Islamic leader.

The Maulana observed from day one the Americans had planned the execution of Saddam Hussein as all the trial was a “mere drama”. He was executed deliberately today when about 30 lakh Muslims from across the world had gathered at Mecca to offer prayers. Moreover, he added, in the West Asia the Id was being celebrated tomorrow and Mr Bush wanted to remind them that they were at his mercy.

He warned that hanging of Saddam would not deter the Muslims from resisting the American hegemony as many more Saddams would be born again. This had further strengthened the resolve of the Muslims to fight the American hegemony and bullying of the nations which did not subscribe to its worldview.

The Shahi Imam also criticised the governments of India and Pakistan for being mute spectators to the whole drama of execution. He regretted the Government of India in particular had betrayed Saddam, who had always stood by India. The Shahi Imam pointed out Saddam was one of the few Muslim leaders in the world who had supported India on the issue of Kashmir and had always bailed out the country whenever it faced any fuel crisis.

In order to respect the feelings and sentiments of over 20 crore Muslims of the country, the government must convene a special session of Parliament to condemn the hanging of Saddam.

Meanwhile, the Communist Party of India and the Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD) condemned the Saddam’s execution. In separate statements, Dr L.S. Chawla, Dr Arun Mitra and Dr Balbir Shah of the IDPD and Mr Kartar Singh Bowani and Mr Ramesh Rattan of the CPI observed that the execution was unjust and arbitrary and it would lead to further violence and bloodshed.

DORAHA: The Marxist Communist party of India (United) has condemned the hanging of Saddam. Mr Pawan Kumar Kaushal and Mr Lakhminder Singh Buani said the hanging of Saddam was a cowardly step on the part of Americans who, with the growing influence of Saddam, had a feeling of insecurity and wanted to get rid of him.

“If Saddam has been hanged for attacking the US, Mr Bush should be awarded similar punishment for the Vietnam and Iraq wars,” they added.



Political scene hots up
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 30
With the elections in the state announced for February 13, and the model code of conduct already coming into force, activities among political parties have intensified.
At the same time, most officials in the administration are heaving a sigh of relief as for at least another two months they will work without any political pulls and pressures.

Senior police and civilian officers told TNS that for another two months there would not be so many telephones to attend to for two reasons. One, most of the politicians would be busy and two, they (the officials) could not be transferred on flimsy grounds of overlooking politicians' references and recommendations.

For the Congress, the scene for the time being has shifted to Delhi. Most of the ticket aspirants have already started moving towards the national Capital to lobby with their mentors and godfathers over there. Of the 12 Assembly segments in the district, eight are represented by the Congress, while four are represented by the Shiromani Akali Dal.

While the incumbent candidates in the Congress-represented constituencies which include Ludhiana Rural, East, West and North, Dakha, Payal, Samrala and Khanna are expecting renomination, the other aspirants from these segments have not given up hope.

The widespread perception among leaders and workers is that not all sitting MLAs may be renominated.

There are some constituencies where the candidates are as good as having already been decided. There is all probability that the candidates in constituencies like Ludhiana North, represented consecutively for the past three terms by Mr Rakesh Pandey, Ludhiana East, represented by Mr Surinder Dawer, Payal, represented by Mr Tej Parakash, son of former Chief Minister Beant Singh, Dakha, represented by Mr Milkiat Singh Dakha, and Samrala, represented by Mr Amrik Singh Dhillon, may not see any change. But even in these constituencies there is no dearth of fresh applicants who feel that the party might change the sitting MLAs for fresh faces.

In other Assembly segments like Ludhiana West, represented by Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Ludhiana Rural, represented by Mr Milkiat Singh Birmi, Khanna (reserved), represented by Ms Harbans Kaur Dullo, wife of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president, there is a possibility of the candidates being changed for different reasons. In these segments, the race among the new aspirants remains quite hot.

And in the segments which the Congress had lost in 2002, which include Jagraon, Raikot and Koom Kalan, the number of aspirants remains substantial. However, in Kila Raipur, which was also lost by the Congress in 2002, the candidature of any of the family members of the Khanguras is almost certain as they have entrenched themselves in the Assembly segment for all these years.

The lobbying in the Shiromani Akali Dal and its alliance partner, the Bharatiya Janata Party, is equally intense with the number of aspirants in most of the segments increasing, thus making the choice of the final candidate for the party high command difficult.

However, in some segments the SAD has almost made the final announcements. Like in Ludhiana West, it has almost given its assent to Mr Harish Rai Dhanda and Kila Raipur the candidature of Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha is also certain. There are some troublespots like Dakha, Ludhiana Rural, Payal and Khanna where the party has a difficult choice to make.

For the BJP, which gets two seats in Ludhiana district in the electoral arrangement, Ludhiana East is most likely to be contested by Mr Satpal Gosain, while in the Ludhaina North, uncertainty continues to prevail as in the past with number of aspirants claiming that seat. 



Dept sleeps as trees die a slow death
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 30
A number of trees on the green belt on the Ludhiana-Jalandhar road are dying slowly, thanks to the chemical-laced water discharged by certain dyeing units.
Though there are chances untreated water can pollute the underground water, the Forest Department and the Punjab Pollution Control Board continue to turn a blind eye to the problem.

Ludhiana Tribune had taken up the matter in these columns two months ago. The dyeing units continue to discharge pollutants leading to death of trees one after the other.

A visit to the road by a Ludhiana Tribune team today revealed that untreated water was being discharged on the green forest land on the either side of the road.

Industrialists had themselves laid private sewerage system that was being emptied on to the forest land. The untreated water had killed at least a hundred eucalyptus trees while several others are struggling for survival. The trees on a 2-km stretch on the GT Road from near Greenland School up to the Octroi post on face death.

The Husband of councillor of Ward No. 4, Mr Ashok Kumar, said the water was being discharged by the dyeing units and the Municipal Corporation had nothing to do with the problem. They had asked the dyeing units to stop the practice, but to no avail, he added.

‘‘The units collect water in pits on their premises and later discharge it into water. We have asked them not to do so. Either the PPCB or the Forest Department can do something in this regard,’’ said Mr Ashok Kumar.

‘‘Owing to accumulation of toxic water, the trees are drying up and branches falling. People take away the wood as soon as a tree crumbles down and nobody comes to know that there used to be a tree. Over the months, just a few trees have left, and these too are on the verge of death,’’ said a tea vendor.

Despite repeated attempts, District Forest Officer, Mr Tushar Kant Vahera, was not accessible. Just a month ago, he had claimed that he had ordered an inquiry into the death of trees and action against the defaulting units if they were proved guilty.



Flashback 2006
Jagraon cops proved their mettle
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 30
The Jagraon district police registered its clout in the force by solving at least 10 blind murder cases during the year. Success in the Reema Jain murder case fetched a prestigious award to the police chief and his three members. Interestingly, complainants turned out to be accused in the majority of cases.

Cracking masked information in the case registered at Ludhiana not only lead to victory of the Jagraon district police team over the Ludhiana police, but it also fetched its head R.K. Jaiswal, SSP, Jagraon, and other staff the Best Detection and Investigation Award.

While the Ludhiana police had been groping in dark to reach any conclusion in the case, intensive investigation of a notorious gang of robbers by the Jagraon police enabled the team solve the case and recover skeleton of the victim.

Interrogation of Jasbir Singh, alias Neelu of Narangwal, Kuldeep Singh of Mandiani village and Tarsem Singh, alias Bonny, of Kotman, who had been arrested for planning to rob a commercial unit, revealed that they had been hired by Anil Jain, alias Micky Jain, Reema's brother-in-law to kill her. Skeleton remains of Reema were recovered from the gutter of the factory belonging to Anil.

A police team, led by Mr Dharam Pal, the then SHO, Jagraon, solved contract killing of Bachan Singh, an NRI, at his native village of Chakar. Balwinder Kaur, the only daughter of the victim and the complainant in the case, had hired a contract killer, Umesh Mehta of Bihar, through Jaswinder Singh of Chakkar to eliminate her father. She wanted to grab his land. Bachan wanted to get married after his wife died. He was killed in September, 2005.

In yet another case, the complainants turned out to be accused. The case was registered in connection with the murder of Ranjit Singh of Sohian village. Baljit Singh, son of Mohinder Singh, had reported that some unidentified persons had murdered his brother, but investigations revealed that crime had been committed by the complainant and his brother Harbans Singh. A property dispute was the cause of enmity. Harjinder Singh, alias Jinda, and Rajvir Singh of the same village were also arrested.

The Dakha police, led by Prem Singh, solved the murder of Ajaib Singh, a money lender of Dakha village whose body was found lying in a vacant piece of land on April 24 three days after he went missing from his house. It was found that Buta Singh, Kewal Singh and Jagga Singh of the same village had strangulated him for getting rid of a loan of Rs 1,500.

The police cracked yet another blind double murder case after Mr Jaiswal examined evidence in murder of Mohinder Singh of Malsian village and his wife Balwinderjit Kaur in October, 2004. The accused, Gurjit Singh of Kalsian village had killed the couple to rob cash and valuables from their house.

Nirmal Singh of Roomi village, who was the complainant in a murder case registered at the Jagraon police station in March, 2003, turned out to be the killer of Amolak Singh, his uncle. 



Flashback — 2006
MC left much to be desired
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 30
Completion of an over-delayed elevated road project became a high point for the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation by the fag end of this year while the civic body invited severe criticism from various quarters as it could not check the spread of dengue that gripped many people.

Thanks to the coming Assembly elections in the state, the city witnessed quite a development in the form of recarpeting of roads and other works, but major projects under way for the past many years continued to be delayed all the more.

There were bouquets for the civic body when the Rs 51-crore elevated road was finally opened to the public after causing inconvenience to residents for six years. However, at the same time the MC drew flak for not connecting the road to old city parts.

The MC invited brickbats for not doing anything about the railway overbridge in place of the old Lakkar Pull as residents of the Civil Lines came up together to protest against the delay. Even the Dhandhari ROB is yet to be completed although the new Commissioner, Mr Vikas Partap, had promised that it would be completed by January 31 next year. Considering the slow pace of work, it seems it would jump yet another deadline.

The garbage disposal system remained poor, the issue of park management committees was not resolved fully though the change of guard in the MC ensured more revenue from advertisements that rose to Rs 2.5 crore from July onwards when the new Commissioner joined. Before him when Mr S.K. Sharma was the Commissioner, the MC had earned just Rs 7 lakh throughout the last year.

The water treatment plant installed under the Sutlej Action Plan failed to start functioning during this year also although the Commissioner had claimed that it would start working by December 31.

Unabated violations of building bylaws and failure of MC to clear encroachments brought brickbats for the civic body. Though following the directions of High Court, the MC authorities swung into action at several places to clear the encroachments, the drive remained fruitless. Besides, the civic body was accused of sparing the rich and influential and razing the structures of the poor.

The problems of bad roads, water shortage, street lights and sewerage continued to stare the MC in its face. It was only during the latter part of the year that residents of some areas had a respite but then allegations of poor quality material used in recarpeting surfaced. A number of newly laid roads developed potholes.

The spread of dengue took the city by storm. While so many residents suffered and some of them died also, the MC and the Health Department indulged in passing the buck and operation cover-up. The MC had to share its blame as it did not do anything to check the breeding of mosquitoes. Residents and doctors rued the improper fogging that resulted in complete failure of the civic administration to check the spread of dengue.

While the opposition in the MC also failed to play a responsible and constructive role, it raised several good issues in the House but could not take these to their logical conclusion.

The General House of the MC was also in the centre of a controversy as the city Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, could not call monthly meetings. After a councillor, Mr Bhairaj Singh, took up the matter with the high court, meetings were held twice in the latter part of the year.

Politics ruled the MC as the Mayor was accused of concentrating on getting the ticket for the Assembly elections rather than concentrating on public works.

Irregularities in allotting of tenders continued to rock the MC and there seemed no solution in the sight. The issue of water and sewerage bills continued to generate a lot of heat in the House and faulty bills had a number of residents fuming. 



Truck driver killed in mishap

Khanna, December 30
A truck driver, Mohan Sahni, was killed when the vehicle collided head-on with a tanker near Otalan on the Samrala-Khanna road. According to a statement given to the police by Johar Ali, a resident of Ishwar Colony, Dhandari Khurd, he, along with Mohan, were going to Mandi Gobindgarh with iron scarp in their truck.
A tanker, allegedly being driven carelessly by Mohinder Singh, hit their truck, resulting in Mohan’s death on the spot. TNS



Govt has done a lot: Cong leader
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 30
Mr Ramesh Joshi, chairman of the Urban Development Cell of the Pradesh Congress Committee, today exhorted party workers to spread the message of development and achievements during the past five years of the Congress government in the state.

Mr Joshi was presiding over a meeting of the workers organised with a view to taking stock of the situation following the announcement of dates for the elections.

Mr Joshi claimed that the Congress government during the past five years had changed the face of the state in terms of urban and rural development. He claimed that the network of roads, abrogation of water treaties, timely lifting of crops and a substantial number of mega projects had brought new socio-economic revolution in the state.

Mr Joshi, who is a claimant to the party ticket from Ludhiana West, asserted that the Congress was set to return to power in the state. He claimed that the Akalis and the Bharatiya Janata Party had no issue in hand to go to the people to seek their votes. 



At the Crossroads
Reflections on New Year's Eve

T.S. Eliot once remarked, “I have measured my life with coffee-spoons”. Now it can be said, “We measure our lives with Tetley or Brook Bond tea-bags.” The march of time is unhindered even when we do not measure our lives with anything. Still at a particular phase of the calendar year, we tend to look back and ponder over certain aspects of the past events. The end-result of our musings is re-assessment of our own contribution to the understanding of life, matters and things.

The course of the stream of life is perhaps preordained but at times one is in a position to make certain changes in its meanderings. At one stage in life one wants to pull down the old edifice of the world, like Omar Khayyam, and “rebuilt it nearer to my heart's desire”. Still, all the effort on the part of this classical Persian poet seems to be for seeking an opportunity to retire into wilderness with his beloved. In the process he wants to take along a loaf of bread, a jug of wine and a book of verses. In reality the poet wants to be closer to his own way of thinking and for that he seeks seclusion.

Personally, I am in favour of mixing up with the people at private parties and social gatherings. This helps one to come out of the cocoon of one's egoistic reflections. But in the din and noise of grand festivities, the poise of the mind should be maintained. Listen at leisure to the music of the soul and rejoice.

The panorama of life has to be viewed with gusto but the study of good books should not be ignored. Primarily the spoken word casts a spell on the mind of the listener but the printed word is like a gem that sparkles for ever. One can come back to it again and again with renewed enthusiasm.

Long back our Professor of English used to say that “Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown, but the head that rests on a big dictionary maintains its equilibrium, both literally and metaphorically”. In this age of technological advance and information boost, the professionals can hardly ignore the richness of cultural heritage and the appeal of literary as well as artistic works. Imagination can weave a web of magical realism so as to gladden the hearts of the persons deeply involved in scientific pursuits.

It is not possible for us to go back to the Vedic age for spiritual enlightenment. Nor is it possible to follow the Buddhist principles of piety and compassion. Intolerance is the only rule that now holds its sway over the minds of the common people. Trivial matters ignite the fire of revenge that ultimately leads to violent outbursts. Not mere religious dogmas but moral teachings can assuage the troubled minds.

When the innocent persons die or receive grievous injuries, the divine curse visits the wrong-doers in one form or another. Power can subdue persons, nations and countries for sometime but the ultimate outcome is the supremacy of the human spirit. Narrow thinking is the root-cause of all the evils that pervade this world. Prejudiced individuals torment others for small gains, while the countries, where the bigoted persons are at the helm of affairs, resort to such methods as lead to terrorism.

It is difficult to make resolutions on the eve of the forthcoming year. Old habits die hard. We know what is wrong but lack courage to rectify it. At times we come forward to help the needy but our primary concern is the applause that we expect to receive from others. Perhaps it is possible to stand up to a cause without any ulterior motive and get the satisfaction of having done the right thing.

Deep down in the human mind, there is a craving for living up to the high ideals. We can hoodwink others with false promises but the self refuses to be browbeaten in any way. The proverbial charity may begin at home but not at the cost of the deserving ones. It is always refreshing to come out of the closed doors into the open.

At long last, nothing comes out of nothing. Looking within can help realise the real aim of life. The mind recoils from double-dealing, double-talk and double-think. Whenever one is in doubt, the response of the young persons can help break the impasse. The know-all people are least reliable. “The holier than thou” attitude is reprehensible. The oft-repeated tone, “I told you so”, is jarring. Welcoming the New Year with an innocent mind and a grateful heart indicates eagerness to appreciate all “that is good, beautiful and true”.

— N.S. Tasneem



Patrons of Punjabi literature honoured
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 30
Sirjandhara, the leading Punjabi literary organisation, honoured seven prominent personalities, who patronisè Punjabi literature, in a function held at Punjabi Bhavan, here today.

Those honoured include Mittar Sen Meet, Punjabi novelist, Sarpanch Kartinder Pal Singh, Dr Sandeep Kaur Sekhon, Mr Gursewak Singh Madhok, Dr Arwinder Singh and the Nishkam Sikh Welfare Council of Delhi, the organisation whose service to soceity has been remarkable.

The mementoes and citations were given by Dr Sardara Singh Johal, Deputy Chairman, Punjab Planning Commission. Mr Shiv Singh, former chairman, Improvement Trust, Ludhiana, was the chief guest. The book ‘Sehaj Shakti Ate Dihraj’ published by Sirjandhara was also released by Dr Johal. The book includes contributions of 57 writers and the seven-member editorial board headed by Mr Kulwant, Jagraon. The printer of the book Sunita Printing Service was also honoured.

The function was attended by leading writers from Ludhiana and also from rest of Punjab. Mr Karamjeet Singh Ajula, President of Sirjandhara, welcomed Padam Bhusan Dr Johal. Another book authored by J.S. Arora was also released. The leading writers present were Surjit Pattar, Ravinder Bhathal, Dr Guriqbal Singh, Dr S.N. Sewak, Gursharan Singh Narula, Mr Dhonwa, Dr Harminder Kaur and Inderjeet Pal Kaur Binder. 



Library for senior citizens demolished
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 30
The demolition branch of the MC here has demolished a library and a dispensary built for senior citizens of Model House (West) and Model Town (Extension) by the Citizens Welfare Society, Ludhiana, at the cost of Rs 3 lakh.

The members of the sociey are angry as the demolition squad never served them any notice before the bulldozer razed down the entire lot of books and took away the computer of the library. Mr Rajesh Sharma, an executive of the society, said that he was going to lodge an FIR.

However, the demolition branch of the MC said the library-cum-reading room built in 300 sq ft along side the MC park had encroached upon the area that was the extension of the park. The society had also taken out one gate from the park towards the library.

The members of the society said the library was imparting education to poor children and also to illiterate adults free of cost since 2002. Senior citizens, women and children visited the library to read newspapers and other books. They alleged that Mr Tejdeep Singh, assistant town planner, and Mr Jora Singh, inspector, MC, Ludhiana, had been demanding money from the office bearers of the society. When their demand was not met with, they came to the site yesterday and demolished the room, which was being used for the welfare of the public. Mr Sharma said the MC had spared many encroachments on roads and turned a blind eye to several building bylaw violations, but had turned down the library.

It is highly regrettable, said the members, that MC did not even warn the children inside and started the demolition. As a result, some children got hurt and an attendant, Mr Chanchal, received an electric shock. The concerned authorities neither sent any warning or any legal notice to initiate any lawful action. It may be added here that inspector Zora Singh was already facing a corruption case and was caught red-handed by the vigilance sleuths recently.

The residents have requested the Municipal Commissioner to take an appropriate action against the erring officials who are a slur on the fair name of the corporation.



Light shed on cooperative movement
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 30
The cooperative department organised a seminar on the Cooperative Movement and Development of Agriculture at Aggar Nagar here today. Mr Gurbhajan Gill, Editor of Changi Kheti, a periodical of Punjab Agricultural University, read a paper on the contribution of the movement in the state. He said when various people came up together with similar goals a cooperative movement was born.

Mr Balbir Singh Sohi, Deputy Registrar of Cooperative Societies, Ludhiana, was accorded a warm sendoff on his superannuation today.

Addressing the function, Mr Sohi said it was only due to the cooperative movement that the godowns of the country were filled to the brim with food grains.

Mr Ranjit Singh Dhaliwal, Mr P.S. Bath, Mr Gurcharan Singh, Mr Harbans Singh, Mr Satwinder Kumar, Mr Nirvair Singh, all Assistant Registrars, and Mr Gurmel Singh Bharowal, president of the Cooperative Employees Union were the prominent among those present.



Help Red Cross in helping needy, says SDM
Tribune News Service

Khanna, December 30
“The Red Cross is committed to helping the aged, helpless and destitute and we should all contribute to help it so as to achieve its ultimate goal of serving such sections of society,” said Mr Amarjit Singh Shahi, SDM, at an NSS camp organised by the Khanna Vikas Club here today.

He lauded the humane act of the persons involved in running a free camp for imparting training in stitching and sewing at Khanna and Bija and said such acts went a long way in creating employment opportunities.

The SDM said any needy person could approach him or the secretary of the society and the needful would be done. Senior citizens deserted by their families, too, could contact them so that accommodation could be provided in an old-age home.

He confirmed that a proposal for opening a school for the deaf and dumb was under consideration.

Mr Surinder Khanna, chairman of the club, office-bearers, members of the outfit club and NSS volunteers were present on the occasion.



Dalits hold rally against govt policies

Ludhiana, December 30
"Captain Amarinder's Government has never bothered to improve the condition of Dalits. Moreover, anyone asking for employment is lathi charged. The cost of living has gone up tremendously causing untold sorrows to poor people," said Rajkumar Aatikaey of Aadi Dharam Samaj, Punjab and Haryana. He was addressing a huge rally of Dalits here on Friday. Addressing the people he further said,"It seems Mr Parkash Singh Badal is trying his best and has promised to sell atta at Rs 4.”  TNS



Hotel owner assaulted

Jagraon, December 30
Ashok Kumar, owner of Hemraj Hotel at Sudhar, was allegedly assaulted by Harpreet Singh of Toose, Pamma and Ajay Kumar, both of Akalgarh, and seven others when he refused to serve them tea yesteday. They also damaged the furniture, snatched a mobile phone from Ashok Kumar and removed Rs 15,000 lying in the cashbox. The Sudhar police has registered a case. — OC



Woman killed in mishap

Ludhiana, December 30
A woman, Rachhpal Kaur of Killa Hans, died in a collision between a Tata tempo and a Toyota car, while her husband Mandanjit Singh suffered injuries. The accident took place between Tata tempo (PB-04-0709) driven by Harbans Singh of Ludhiana and Toyota car (DL-IC-8459) in Bhutta village. The Dehlon police has registered a case under Sections 304-A, 279 and 427 of the IPC on the complaint of Dalbar Singh of Killa Hans. The injured has been admitted to hospital. OC



1 held with smack

Khanna, December 30
The Payal police HAS arrested Jaspal Singh, a resident of Naulri Kalan, and recovered 5 gm of smack from him. A case has been registered against him under the NDPS Act. He was nabbed at T-point, Gurthali, by a police party following a tip-off. OC



Protect honest power consumers: Chamber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 30
The local industry has urged the government to provide a mechanism wherein honest electricity consumers are not punished post-amendments in the Electricity Act - 2003.

The Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry today said the government was planning to amend the Electricity Act - 2003 with respect to power theft. "Theft of electricity is likely to be made a cognisable offence and even unauthorised use of power will be brought under close examination.

The government needs to provide a mechanism so that honest consumers are not wrongly entrapped," said Mr P.D. Sharma, president of the chamber.

He said the amendment to the Bill provided that all offenses pertaining to theft of electricity would be non-bailable and the licensee of power could disconnect the supply in case of theft.

"Large consumers can be debarred if theft is detected for a second time and power connection would not be available for a specified period."

Stating that power theft in the country in 2004-05 was estimated at 33.82 per cent at Rs 28,000 crore, the chamber said there was no dearth of incidences where honest consumers were falsely implicated.

"Every honest consumer would like stringent action against those who indulge in power theft. Unfortunately the environment is such that honest people are entrapped," added Mr Sharma.

He said the chamber had also written to the Power Minister on the issue. The chamber also said officials of the electricity board or companies should certify that seals of metering equipment were intact when they visited a premises for monthly readings. This date should be made the reference date, the chamber said.

It also demanded that pilfer-proof meter boxes, which were available in the country, should be installed.

The chamber asserted that misuse of power be defined more precisely. "A consumer can change the use for which he got load sanctioned.

He should have the liberty to change the use for which he consumes electricity.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |