L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Man ‘tortured’ to death in de-addiction centre
10 others rescued by police, owners flee
Bhushan Sood

Amloh, January 19
A man, admitted to a de-addiction centre, died here yesterday allegedly due to torture by owners of the centre, while 10 patients, who were locked in a room, were rescued by the police this morning.

The incident came to light this morning when the owners informed family members of Sodagur Singh (32) about his death. Just after giving them a call, they threatened other inmates and locked them in a room. They also locked the centre from outside and managed to run.

People of the town and the police reached the centre and got the inmates freed.

The centre inmates said no deaddiction treatment was given to them by any doctor. Even they were not given proper food.

Whenever any relative came to see them, they were not allowed to talk separately and threatened with dire consequences if they spoke against the centre.

Sweets brought by their guardians on festivals were also not given to them, they maintained.

Nihal Singh of Amloh said he, along with his brother Ram Singh, got admission in September last year for de-addiction of smack. The owners tortured and killed his brother Ramsingh (22) on October 9 and later the story of accident at Kanpura village was cooked up. Believing the story as true he was cremated by the family. Mr Nihal Singh sought a fresh probe into the matter.

According to information, the rent agreement of the building was executed between Harjinder Singh of Kharar with landlord Mukhtaiyar Singh up to January 31, 2007.

SHO Ajaypal Singh said the body has been sent for post-mortem examination and the police has registered a case on the statement of Dara Singh under Sections 302,323,342,506,148,149,120-B IPC against Harjinder Singh of Kharar, Jally Gagan, Bunty, Jonny, Avtar Singh and Jaggi.

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DSGMC poll results a turning point
KS Chawla

Ludhiana, January 19
The election results of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee has given a clear edge to the Sarna brothers in Delhi Sikh politics and the same will have its impact on elections to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha next month. This is more significant since the emergence of the Sarna brothers in Delhi, because this time the Shiromani Akali Dal (Delhi) led by Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna was able to improve its position with no-anti-incumbency against them.

They have improved their position and are not likely to depend on the splinter groups of Sikhs as was the case in the outgoing House. In fact, the victory of Sarnas in Delhi remind one of the lingering influence of the Tohra legacy within Punjab and outside in the Sikh mainstream. On the other hand, it could be said that Mr Parkash Singh Badal's influence in the Sikh mainstream is diminishing and that is because of his alliance with the BJP. It has to be noted that the campaign in Delhi by Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna and his main ally, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, was focused against the SAD-BJP alliance and they constantly held Mr Badal responsible for dilution of Sikh identity.

It is to be noted that the accusation of Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Avtar Singh Makkar against the Sarnas that they had aligned themselves with Congress could do little damage to the position of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Delhi). In another way, this can mean that the bitterness of the Sikhs as a whole against the Congress on account of Operation Bluestar is being treated as a part of history now. Mr Badal has to learn that his single anti-Congress slogan of the party having enacted Operation Bluestar can no longer hold good. It is also interesting to find this time that Mr Badal is not appealing to the Sikhs in the name of the Panth for seizing power. On the whole, the Delhi gurdwara election results can mean that the Sikhs want clean administration in shrines and no misuse of gurdwara funds for politics or for political ends. This verdict is sure to have an impact on the Punjab poll campaign, particularly with the emergence of the Majha Akali Dal led by Mr Raghbir Singh, a secretary of the SGPC. On the other hand, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta's stand that the Akali Ddal should not get saffronised and that it must maintain its character as a Sikh minority party has also been vindicated. Commenting on the outcome of the Delhi gurdwara elections, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta said Mr Parkash Singh Badal had failed to learn any lesson and he should stop misusing the SGPC for political ends.

Mr Manjit Singh said Mr Badal had lost his credibility among the Sikhs and his claim of being the supreme leader of the Sikhs had also proved hollow. It was strange that he was never invited by any Singh Sabha to participate in the religious function as was the case with Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra.

Mr Manjit Singh asserted that Mr Badal had divided the Sikh community and now Haryana would have a separate gurdwara committee thanks to the wisdom of Mr Badal.

The main thing which is going to affect the Akali Dal led by Mr Badal is the financial support that they used to get from Delhi and Bombay.

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SAD (A) candidate flays Badal, Cong rule
Our Correspondent

Amloh, January 19
Voters of Amloh reserved constituency are fed up with the SAD-BJP combine and the Congress government and are now thinking of giving a chance to the third front, asserted Mr Bhag Singh, a candidate of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar). He was addressing a meeting of residents today at Naraingarh village after attending corner meetings at Bhadalthua, Ghullumajra, Braichan, Khanyan, Kanpura, Saliani and Bhaton villages.

He claimed that he had a good chance as he was a resident of Bhamarsi, a village which is a part of Amloh constituency, and due to the anti-Panthic policies of Badal government. Mr Badal’s candidate, Ms Satvinder Kaur Dhaliwal, had failed to utilise Rs 5 crore of development funds, he said.

The SGPC member from Amloh constituency, Mr Ravinder Singh Khalsa, criticised Mr Badal’s regime which had caused irreparable damage to the Panth in 1978 and 1986, and which was responsible for the Sikh-Nirankari clash and Operation Black Thunder.

The Congress government had failed to provide education and health services to the people, he alleged. “After giving a chance to both the parties, people now wanted a change,” said Mr Khalsa. He alleged that Mr Badal had misused the SGPC’s Dhadhi Jatha for the political conference held at Ram Mandir here yesterday.

He invited people of the area to Amloh on February 10 to join the procession of Mr Bhag Singh for filing of nomination papers.

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School entangled in drug controversy
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 19
A prestigious convent school in the city finds itself in an embarrassing controversy with an intelligence agency reporting that the school authorities had hushed up a matter of recovery of drugs, alleged to be brown sugar, from some students few days ago.

The school Principal, however, is laughing off the allegations saying the recovered pouches were powdered jaggery served usually with coffee and tea in couple of coffee shops in the city.

The Principal said the children from whom the pouches were recovered offered to under go blood test at the precise moment to prove their innocence. The authorities confirmed that the substance was not drug but as a precautionary measure their parents were called.

Sources with the intelligence agency revealed to Ludhiana Tribune that a source report about the use of drugs in schools especially the convent school has been sent to the government for necessary action.

The local official said they had concrete information that the school students were using drugs and were caught several times. But due to the influence of the school, as well as that of parents of the children, the incidents could not come to light.

The school was incidentally in news for the wrong reasons few months ago when different groups of students had gathered outside the school challenging each other for an open duel.

The intelligence agency official has recommended a high-level police inquiry into the use of drugs by the students, Various NGOs and drug de-addiction centres have also been airing reports of the high use of drugs by students of this and other schools in the city.

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Car taken away at gunpoint

Ludhiana, January 19
Two armed robbers took away a car from a person after wounding him near the Jalandhar bypass last night. The police has registered a case but there has been no breakthrough so far.

The injured Sukhwinder Singh has been admitted to CMC Hospital. In his statement to the police, he said he was a resident of Jalandhar and returning home when two persons stopped his vehicle and forced him to leave the car at the gunpoint. — TNS

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COMMUNITY
 

Badal: Flour at Rs 4, pulses Rs 20
Opens election office at Amloh
Our Correspondent

Amloh, January 19
Punjab is going to enter into a golden era of development from February 13 by wiping out the Congress rule from the state, said SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal after an inaugural function of election office of party candidate from Amloh constituency Sativinder Kaur Dhaliwal last evening. Mr Badal was thankful for the party ticket aspirants from this constituency to accept the party verdict and extend their support to Ms Dhaliwal.

During the present term of the Congress rule, the government had failed to perform its duties towards the people, rather it had withdrawn the relief of house tax and octroi given by the SAD-BJP government which was later on provided by the present government. The law and order situation in the state has deteriorated.

He promised to supply flour at Rs 4 and pulses at Rs 20 per kg, besides the government would arrange employment for the youth. Industrial disputes would be settled by boards constituted by them, assured Mr Badal. All these things would be mentioned in the election manifesto going to be released shortly.

Mr Badal announced to hold a big rally of the party on February 5 in support of Ms Dhaliwal. Ms Dhaliwal appealed to workers to work hard to defeat the Congress candidate and her victory would be the victory of the party.

Among others Bajigar Sewa Dal chief Makhan Singh Lalka, former MLA Balwant Singh Shahpur, former SGPC member Jassa Singh Ahliwalia, District youth chief Didar Singh Bhatti, former council chief Tejwant Singh, BJP district chief Rajpal Garg, former Gobindgarh Council Chief Chanda Singh, SAD-Amloh urban chief Hari Chand Mittal, state president Karamchari Dal Karajeet Singh Bhagdana, circle Jathedar Hari Singh, former minister and SAD adviser Dali Singh Pandhi, former Gobindgarh council chief Sukhwinder Singh Bhambri and others also spoke.

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Get well soon, Dawar wishes Gosain
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 19
Setting aside personal differences and political rivalry, sitting MLA and Congress candidate from Ludhiana East Surinder Dawar went to see his arch rival and ailing BJP leader Satpal Gosain at Hero Heart Centre at DMC today.

Mr Gosain, who is giving a tough fight to Mr Dawar in a straight contest in the segment, was operated for artery disease at the hospital yesterday. Sparing time from his campaigning schedule, Mr Dawar went to the hospital, met the leader and wished him a speedy recovery.

He said though they were political rivals, he wished that Mr Gosain recovered fast. Both leaders had been pitted against each other during the last Assembly elections also. The battlelines between them have been long drawn not in the political arena but also in their personal lives also.

They have filed suits against each other in the past and still are battling it out in different courts. Starting from complaining against Mr Dawar's son to accusing him of polluting the environment, Mr Gosain had been levelling allegations against the former. Mr Dawar too had filed several defamation cases against his rival in a local court.

Meanwhile, allaying all fears of BJP supporters after Mr Gosain was treated for artery disease, party leaders said the candidate would be discharged from the hospital tomorrow and would start meeting his electorate from Monday. He was on rest throughout the day.

His sickness had left the residents wondering whether he would be able to campaign for himself or not. The announcement by his party leaders that he would be discharged tomorrow filled the workers with hope that he would be among them within a day or two.

Mr Anil Sareen, secretary of Punjab unit of the BJP said during his stay at the hospital, the party workers had been working in his constituency with great zeal and enthusiasm.

He added that the leader would be filing his nomination papers on January 23. ‘‘The doctors have advised him rest for five days. He will be recovered till Monday and seen in his constituency. He is feeling well even today but we do not want to take chances. After all it is a matter of his health”, said Mr Sareen.

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SAD gets boost as Karwal joins in
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, 19 January
The SAD nominee from Malerkotla constituency received a shot in the arm today when the national general secretary of the youth wing of SAD (A), Mr Kuldip Singh Karwal, along with his supporters joined the SAD and announced to extend unconditional support to him.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, MP and secretary general SAD, presented saffron robes to Kuldeep Singh Karwal and his associates as a token of recognition.

The development took place after Balwinder Singh Bains, an SGPC member from Ludhiana, and Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, MP and president youth wing of SAD, inspired Mr Karwal to join the party. Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha MLA, Kilaraipur, was also present on the occasion.

Mr Abdul Gaffar, SAD nominee from Malerkotla, said he would give due importance to suggestions given by Mr Karwal and his associates.

Mr Karwal, while addressing the meeting said he had decided to leave the SAD (A) due to alleged dictatorial polices of certain leaders and joined the new party to defeat the Congress nominee.

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Industry for captive power plants
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 19
As political parties continue asserting that tackling the power shortage in the state will be among their priorities, the local industry stresses the need to adopt a far-sighted approach to deal with the issue.

According to industrialists, merely large projects will not suffice until various aspects like rise in demand and other sources of power are considered.

"Political parties are talking about increasing power generation but they need to understand the issue in detail as demand for power will grow significantly in the coming years. Estimates have to be realistic and measures need to be taken in various directions," feels Mr S.C. Ralhan, regional chairman, Engineering Export Promotion Council.

Large projects will take at least four-five years to begin production, which is why captive power plants should be permitted, he said.

"Either an industrial unit should be free to supply power to even its neighbours or special-purpose vehicles by the industry for power generation be permitted," he suggested.

Among industries that have been worse hit due to power crisis are induction furnaces. "it has become a practice to shut induction furnaces whenever there is shortage of power. Despite the fact that this is a high power consuming industry, an equitable treatment should be given. Cuts should be uniform across all sectors," feels Mr K.K. Garg of the North India Induction Furnace Association.

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‘International standards must for farm products’

Ludhiana, January 19
The Director of Extension Education, Dr N.S. Malhi, today addressed trainees of a course on medicinal plants here at PAU. The course has been organised by the Directorate of Extension Education in collaboration with Bank of India.

Dr Malhi emphasised on increasing the standard of processing, grading and packaging of agricultural produce to compete in the international market. With the escalating rates in the international market, the exports have increased and the farmers of Punjab must take into account the international quality standards in their agricultural produce.

Dr Malhi said it was important to cultivate medicinal plants on commercial scale. A special cell had been created in the Plant Breeding Department to supply all types of guidance to the farmers in this regard. According to Coordinators of the course, Dr Jaswinder Bhalla and Ms Paramjit Kaur Pandher, a number of experts guided the farmers. These include Additional-Director of Extension Education, Dr Sat Paul Mehra, Dr Swaran Singh Saini, Dr Baljinder Singh Gill, Dr J.L. Sharma, Dr K.S. Gosal, Dr Ramandeep Singh Jassal etc. — TNS

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IHRO takes up Shilpa’s cause
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 19
The International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO) has addressed an open letter to the UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on the racial abuse of Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty on Big Brother, a British reality show.

Mr D.S. Gill, chairperson of the outfit, said though the actress has reportedly gone back from the fierce controversy over the slur hurled at her on the show, yet it cannot be concluded that there was no racial abuse in the episode.

"The unfortunate incident needs to be thoroughly probed since it has hurt the feelings of the Indian people all over the world," he added.

'The guilty must be punished' should be the rule, not an exception, as it is being projected now by the channel which airs the popular show.

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BUSINESS
 

Encourage food processing: Experts
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 19
The share of agriculture export in total export has declined from 19 per cent to almost 7-8 per cent within 15 years. Poor infrastructure, lack of proper supply chain and small holdings are resulting in poor performance of this segment, said Mr Ajay Sahai, Director General, Federation of Indian Exporters Association (FIEO), while addressing a seminar on export opportunities in processed foods and agro products.

The programme was organised by Punjab Agricultural University, the Federation of Indian Exports Organisation, the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade and the State Bank of Patiala.

Mr Sahai said the corporate sector needed to step into this segment to complete the supply chain and introduction of reforms by the government was important to give a boost to agri exports.

Mr K.S. Aulakh, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, emphasised the need to encourage food processing for the benefit of farmers as well as consumers. Public sector investment in the food processing industry should be increased to attain this target, he said.

Talking about the low level of food processing in India, he observed: "We process only 2 per cent of our fruits and vegetables in comparison to 80 per cent in the USA, 70 per cent in France and 80 per cent in Malaysia. The food processing industry can play a crucial role in reducing post harvest losses. Fruits and vegetables growing can be a profitable alternate to paddy and wheat if adequate processing facilities are developed. In addition, it can offer greater employment opportunities for the rural youth”, he added.

The country could become a major food producer and supplier to the world. "For this, we have to amplify our present level of processing and value addition and drastically reduce our post-harvest losses", he asserted.

In his key note address, Chairman of FIEO R.K. Dhawan said, though India was the second largest producer of vegetables and third on account of fruits in the world, yet a majority of its produce was lost as country lacked adequate infrastructure facilities for post-harvest handling and processing. "In order to increase our export earnings, we must develop adequate facilities for food processing."

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