L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Akali rebels in no mood to reconcile
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
The Shiromani Akali Dal may have kicked off an intense campaign in a number of Assembly segments in Ludhiana district, but, like in other parts of the state, it has to counter powerful and influential rebels in several segments. Some prominent leaders of the party who were denied ticket were conspicuous by their absence at today's rally here, indicating that they were in no mood to reconcile. The SAD is likely to face serious rebellion in Jagraon, Ludhiana (rural), Payal and Ludhiana West.

In Jagraon, where the party renominated Mr Bagh Singh Mallah for the third consecutive time, the supporters of Mr Amrik Singh Aliwal are up in arms. Mr Aliwal, a two-time MP from Ludhiana, had been promised ticket in Assembly elections when the SAD allotted ticket to his arch rival (within the SAD), Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon.

For a while, it was believed that Mr Aliwal had almost been finalised as the party candidate. But, at the last moment his name was dropped.

Mr Aliwal's supporters are blaming Mr Sukhbir Badal for the denial of ticket to him. Mr Aliwal has kept his cards closed and has been maintaining that he draws his strength from his supporters and will take decisions according to their wishes. It indicates that he may even adopt a rebellious course.

In Ludhiana (rural), the Bains brothers have already raised a revolt against the party nominee and an Akali veteran, Mr Hira Singh Gabria. Mr Simarjit Singh Bains, a local councillor and district youth president of the SAD, and his brother, Mr Balwinder Singh Bains, who is the member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, have given a week's time to the SAD leadership to replace Mr Gabria, failing which the senior Bains would contest as an independent.

In Ludhiana West, there is no dissidence within the party. Although Mr Amarjit Singh Chawla was disappointed over the nomination of Mr Harish Raid Dhanda, later on he agreed to take charge of his (Mr Dhanda's) campaign at the behest of SAD secretary Daljit Singh Cheema. But, the SAD alliance partner, the BJP is so far cool and indifferent towards Mr Dhanda as the party feels that the Ludhiana West segment belongs to it. 



Badal allays fears of Tohra loyalists
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
The Shiromani Akali Dal President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today sought to allay the apprehensions of the former Tohra loyalists that they had been allotted difficult seats. He said, this was a myth created by the enemies of the SAD.

Talking to The Tribune here today, Mr Badal said, "even the candidates themselves had no apprehensions about their victory as the party was on a comfortably pitch". He claimed, the SAD was quite confident of the victory and there was no question of any "difficult seats".

"We have not fielded candidates for losing", Mr Badal remarked, while asking, "who will wish his candidates to lose". He asserted that the SAD candidates would win with landslide margins "even from the segments you term as difficult".

Mr Badal said, had those been the difficult and "given up" seats, there would not have been any rebellion from those segments. He pointed out, there were a number of candidates wanting to contest from those segments. He said, in fact there was no term as "Tohra loyalists". Because, according to him, everybody belonged to the Shiromani Akali Dal.

He alleged that such "terms" were being deliberately created by the "enemies of the party and the panth" to create confusion as they were apprehensive of a "landslide Akali victory in the elections". But none of their ploys will work, he asserted.



Ms Badal will forgive Capt, but not forget him
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
While maintaining that she will not like her husband Parkash Singh Badal and son Sukhbir to be vindictive towards Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Ms Surinder Kaur today said she could not forget the harassment to which she and members of her family had been subjected to by the Chief Minister.

During a function in support of Ludhiana West party candidate Harish Rai Dhanda here, she said, “I cannot forget what he did to us. He was too personal in his vendetta. Once our government is formed, we will not be vindictive like him.”

She said although they had reasons to do so, her party’s government would not pursue a vindictive agenda.

“Our party will instead focus on development, real development, and not the hoax one, as is being done by Amarinder”, she asserted.

Later addressing women workers of the Ludhiana West segment, she said the time had come to get rid of the current government.

She claimed that it had not done anything except filling its own coffers. She said her party had a great vision of a great and progressive Punjab.

Expressing gratitude to Ms Badal, Mr Dhanda questioned the claims of the Congress of setting up power projects in the state.

He said the Congress had not added a single unit of power and the situation was the same as left by Mr Badal five years ago.

Mr Dhanda said he was confident of making it to the Assembly, with the ‘overwhelming’ support coming to him from all quarters.



Why have bright shades of Sidhu’s turban disappeared ?
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
Former Amritsar Member of Parliament and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Navjot Singh Sidhu is seen too frequently with the leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal than his own (that of the BJP). Not just that, instead of his favourite bright shades, Mr Sidhu has started wearing the blue turban, symbolic of Akali identity, now quite regularly.

This has raised apprehensions among BJP quarters that Mr Sidhu might be planning a permanent future within SAD itself. It is learnt that Mr Sidhu's proximity with Mr Parkash Singh Badal and his son, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, has irked many a leader in his own party because he is being seen more with the Badals than his own party leaders.

In fact Mr Sukhbir Badal had recently planned a route march across the state along with Mr Sidhu. However, the march was later cancelled. Even at a public rally here today, Mr Sidhu was wearing a blue turban.

It is understood that Mr Sidhu was keeping his options open for the time being. After resigning his seat from Parliament, he has got more close to the SAD leadership. He is believed to be waiting for the party's decision on Amritsar parliamentary seat that he hopes for his wife. It is learnt that the BJP had thought of fielding his wife after getting apprehensive that it may not be able to retain Mr Sidhu for long, in case he was not actively involved with the party. However, the party is believed to be exploring some other options as well.

Mr Sidhu may himself be waiting for the party's decision about Amritsar parliamentary seat. Only then he may reveal his cards. For the time-being he seems to be keeping SAD in good humour with his blue turban. And he knows it too well what he means to convey by wearing that colour after giving up all the bright shades he used to earlier. 



Poll campaigns national waste, says Ramoowalia
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 9
Terming the majority of politicians as ‘property dealers’ and ‘traders’, Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, president, Lok Bhalai Party and a leader of the third front in Punjab, called upon the intellectuals and scholars of the region to join hands with the front to save the state from the clutches of the Congress and the SAD.

The political rallies and elaborate demonstrations during election campaigns were mere wastage of national income, he said.

Mr Ramoowalia was talking to Ludhiana Tribune after addressing a rally at Dehlon village, near here, today. Alleging that leaders of the SAD and the Congress had successively been plundering government treasuries in Punjab, he urged the intellectuals and scholars to support candidates launched by the third front and save the state from being bankrupted further.

“As the majority of top leaders of the Congress and the SAD have been found involved in corruption during their respective regimes, people of the state should not fall prey to their fake assurances,” said Mr Ramoowalia.

Earlier kicking off the election campaign of the party nominee, Mr Karam Singh Rurka, the former Union Minister maintained that the third front, if voted to power, would strive for universal brotherhood and peace. “Contrary to the policies of the Congress and the SAD to win power by dividing people on caste and creed, we will strive to generate love and affection among various sections of society and create an atmosphere congenial for everlasting development in the area,” said Mr Ramoowalia.

He blamed the SAD for ignoring the interests of Punjabis in general and the Sikhs in particular. He alleged that these leaders did not bother to spend a single penny on the welfare of masses out of the annual income of Rs 287 crore of the SGPC.

Leaders of other constituents of the front, Prof Balwant Singh (CPM), Mr Jagroop Singh (CPI), Mr Kirpal Singh Sandhu (SAD, L), Mr Avtar Singh Mullanpuri, acting president of the LBP, and Mr Yadwinder Singh Jabbadi also spoke on the occasion. 



NRIs sustaining real estate boom in New Year 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
As the real estate boom continues this year it is Non-Resident Indian (NRI) investors who are actively investing in the region. City-based real estate developers, Deepak Buildcon Infrastructure, that announced its project of developing apartments and penthouses in June last year, has sold off the penthouses even before the completion of construction.

“The penthouses that cost over Rs 1 crore each have been bought by NRIs. One-third of the total number of apartments have also been sold off. The trend is quite encouraging and people continue to invest in real estate, particularly in property on prime locations,” Mr Deepak Singal, CEO of the company, told Ludhiana Tribune today.

On the continuing boom in real estate the segment, Mr Singal said: “Last year the boom prevailed across most geographical locations. This year market is still rising, but it is more inclined towards urban areas and prime locations”.

The concept of semi-furnished apartments is relatively new to the city and the company expects to cater to growing demand for modern accommodation by urbane customers. The company has also constructed a sample apartment for its prospective buyers to have a look.

Disclosing the price range of the apartments, he said it varied between Rs 32 lakh and Rs 58 lakh, depending on the area.



Good wheat prospects in Punjab
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
A state-level meeting of agriculture experts was organised at Punjab Agricultural University here yesterday.

Presiding over the meeting, the Director of Extension Education, Dr N.S. Malhi, said the yield of wheat was likely to increase in view of timely sowing of the crop. He laid stress on popularisation of farm literature to achieve precision in various farming operations. Dr Malhi said the university would publish a bulletin on cultivation of cotton on scientific lines.

The area under wheat cultivation had increased by two lakh hectares and the 80 per cent crop was sown timely. He exhorted the experts to work hard to face various emerging challenges in agriculture. He also called for reducing the area under paddy cultivation.

Till date 16 lakh quintal of cotton had been purchased in various markets of Punjab and it at least 8 lakh quintal more was likely to arrive in the markets.

Dr Sat Pal Mehra, Additional Director of Extension Education, welcomed the Director and other agricultural experts.

Meanwhile, a two-member delegation from Walter Sisuriti University, South Africa, visited the PAU yesterday. The delegation was headed by chairman of the governing council of the university Soma Dota Fekenny.

At a meeting with PAU Vice-Chancellor K.S. Aulakh, the delegation expressed the desire to learn from the agricultural experiences of the PAU experts.

The Director of Rural Development Centre, South Africa, Dr N.P. Liswahgi, said the development model of Punjab was most suitable for their country. The delegation also held discussions with Director of Research B.S. Dhillon and Dean, College of Agriculture, G.S. Chahal. The delegation visited various departments of the university.



Movies blamed for rising crime against kids
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana January 9
Nithari incident has shaken everyone. Problems like child labour, child pawning and child abuse are prevalent in society but butchering of innocent children in an inhumane manner in Noida recently has compelled society to think seriously whether their children lead a secure life.

A recent study conducted by the students of Sociology Department of Khalsa College for Women has revealed that exploitation of children had increased day by day. Movies, peer groups, mass-media, money, broken-home factor, demoralised homes etc were some of the factors which contributed to increase the graph of crime against children.

Ms Harveen Kaur, head of the Sociology Department of KCW, said that the present survey was conducted on hundreds of respondents of Khalsa College for Women, Guru Teg Bahadur National College, Dakha, Shaheed Col. Harcharan Singh Sekhon Senior Secondary High School, Dakha, Kundan Vidya Mandir, Tagore Public School and Punjab National Bank, Grain Market, Dakha etc.

Majority of respondents felt that children belonging to lower strata of society were the worst affected. The study found:" The major reason for their exploitation was that they belonged to poor, large families, whose parents worked to make both ends meet. Secondly, poor parents forced their wards to work in wrenched conditions to earn a living and their growth was stunted as they lived in miserable conditions”.

The survey held movies and money as main culprits for rising crime against children.



Rs 1 lakh given to Kheernian
Our Correspondent

Samrala, January 9
An amount of Rs 1 lakh was presented here today by Lala Mangat Rai, President of the Youth Akali Dal (Samrala city), to Jathedar Jagjeewan Singh Kheernian, at the inauguration ceremony of his office. The office was inaugurated by district president (dihati) Jathedar Umedpuri and Mr Avinash Khanna, state president of the BJP.

Among others who addressed the gathering were Jathedar Kirpal Singh Kheernian, member SGPC, senior Akali leader Jathedar Kalal Majra, Jathedar Dr Gurbax Singh Beeja, J.S. Seh, Kartar Singh Mehdoodan, Mr Rajvir Singh Mangat, BJP President of Samrala and Lala Mangat Rai.

Tributes paid

Rich tributes were paid to Bebe Chint Kaur (93), mother of social worker and sarpanch of Ranwan village, Mr Mewa Singh, at Ranwan village, near here by MLA Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal, Mr Rupinder Singh Roobi, Chairman Land Mortgage Bank and General Secretary of the All-India Youth Akali Dal, Jathedar Jagjeewan Singh Kheernian, Congress leaders K.L. Mintu and Mr Kasturi Lal. The leaders highlighted the social services rendered by Chint Kaur for the education of poor and needy children.

Sports mela

A meeting of sport lovers and office-bearer of the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Youth welfare and sports club was held under the presidentship of Mr Taranjeet Singh in connection with the sports mela in Ghulal village from January 25 to 27. Decisions were taken about different events to be conducted in the mela.

A cultural programme by Neelam and Bhupinder Gill will also be presented at the closing ceremony.



Big cat is out for treatment
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9
The ailing tigress at the local tiger safari was today shifted to the Chhat Bir zoo, near Chandigarh, as the local authorities claimed that it would get better medicare facilities there.

Tigress Elaichi had developed some problem in her back legs and was unable to move for two or three days.

A veterinarian from the Punjab Veterinary Department was called to the city to examine it.

Mr Parmod Kumar, local safari supervisor, said Elaichi needed treatment and it was not possible for them to take it to the Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Husbandry University as they did not have a proper vehicle.

It was not possible for the veterinarian, Dr M.P. Singh, to visit Ludhiana every day, he further said.

Senior officials decided to send it to Chhat Bir as it would get good medicare facilities there, he added.

Mr Parmod Kumar said reports of all other tests showed that the big cat had no infection or  parasite.

The experts had now been saying it might be suffering from some neurological disorder, but it was difficult to say anything with certainty till a proper diagnosis was done.

The local tiger safari was now left with four tigers and four tigresses.



8 booked for assault
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, January 9
The Raikot police has booked Kuldeep Singh, Jagmohan Singh, Gurmail Singh, Jassu of Johlan and four unidentified persons for illegally entering the house of Nirmal Singh and assaulting him. The injured has been admitted to the civil hospital in Raikot.

In another incident, Vicky, Jagtar Singh of Kamalpura and five unidentified persons forced their way into the house of Jasbir Singh of their village and allegedly assaulted and threatened him. The local police has registered a case under Sections 448, 294, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC. Some old dispute is said to be reason behind the incident.

Car stolen

The police has registered a case of theft on the complaint of Indervir Singh of New Town Moga. He has alleged that his car (DBD-2592) was stolen from Gurusar Kaunke on the night of January 3.

Woman booked

The Dakha police has registered a case under Sections 279, 427 and 337 of the IPC against Ravinder Kaur of Janta Nagar, Ludhiana, on the complaint of Avinash Kumar for allegedly causing an accident near Pandori village, GT Road, in which he was injured and his car damaged.



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