L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Six burglars arrested 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 21
The city may get some respite from the spate of thefts and burglaries it witnessed in New Year with the police arresting six persons belonging to different gangs. The arrested persons have reportedly been found involved in the majority of crime incidents.

Sources revealed to Ludhiana Tribune that the police had achieved a breakthrough with the arrest of these persons. The police would wait till tomorrow for making public the exploits of the gang as more arrests were expected.

These people especially targeted shops. According to the police, more than 30 shops and houses had been burgled in this month.

The police had so far been able to catch the culprits responsible for lifting over 160 mobile phones from Ahuja Electronics. There was a general sense of fear among the traders owing to the frequent strikes.

Last night, five shop-cum-offices were burgled in the Clock Tower market, Dyal Singh Nagar, Harpal Nagar and Manjit Singh Nagar.

The burglars showed audacity when they looted cash and valuables worth thousands of rupees from nine shops in one strike near the Vishwakarma Chowk on January 15. The shops were situated near a police post, but neither the policemen posted there nor the night patrolling staff could prevent the burglaries.

On the same night, thieves looted silver ornaments worth over Rs 2 lakh from VC Jewellers on the Pakhowal Road. The thieves had entered the showroom after scaling its rear wall.

On January 14, several houses in Indira Colony, South City and Barrewal were burgled and thieves decamped with cash and jewellery worth lakhs of rupees. The preceding night burglars struck at several shops at the Mata Rani Chowk, the Gandhi Market and the Mall Road.

Earlier, similar incidents were reported from the Than Singh Chowk, Kundan Puri, Mundian Kalan, Mochhpurra Bazaar, Bhadaur House, Moti Nagar Market, Sarabha Nagar and the Clock Tower Market.



Electorate for e-voting
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 21
With candidates of various parties using new technology to reach out to the voters by sending text messages through mobile phones and communicating through e-mails, a demand is emerging from the electorate too to use the technology to cast their vote.

Mr K. S. Budhiraja, a well-known industrialist and prominent office-bearer of five organisations floated the idea to the State Election Commission to start online voting from the election.

In a representation to the poll commission, he has reasoned that this will enable aged and even sick voters to exercise their franchise besides allowing even defence personnel, para military forces or government employees on postal duty to cast their vote.

This will bring the affluent and the high middle-class back in the reckoning as this class had been avoiding polls. Mr Budhiraja said most of the people, including youngsters, hate to stand in a queue for long.

He has further requested the Election Commission that if this is not feasible this time, then suitable steps be taken for on-line voting system in future.

Manjinder Singh, a computer engineer and a resident of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, is elated at the idea, ‘‘ If the polling of the votes was just a click of mouse away , I would also cast my vote as I hate standing in a queue.

This would also put an end to booth capturing and end fears of getting hurt in clashes between political rivals.

He said the unique IP address of computers can help in detecting any fraudulent polling.

The voters can fill the e-vote form with the Election Commission allowing them to poll votes from that address only.



Assembly poll: Gen X indifferent
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana January 21
The new generation of voters, particularly those voting for the first time, appears to be either indifferent or unaware about the elections in the state. The indifference and unawareness appears to have stemmed from cynicism and lack of expectations from political parties of all shades and hues.

A cross-section of youth and first time voters, Ludhiana Tribune spoke to, appeared to be disillusioned with the political parties. They did not have much faith in any of the leaders either. Most of them observed that the change of regime, if it takes place, hardly made any difference because they think politicians cutting across the party lines pursued only the personal agendas at the cost of public welfare and common good.

Mr Vikas Sood, a student of PCTE, said voting or no voting did not make much difference. He said, "It is like wasting your vote because all political leaders are busy making money for themselves. They have set their own agendas and targets to get maximum benefit in the coming five years. Problems like poverty, unemployment, lack of development works etc does not seem to be in the priority list of leaders".

Another student Chetna Mehra showed absolute unawareness about the major parties or players contesting in the assembly elections. She said that she got her Voter's Identity Card made because of her father. "The I-card is really helpful . It can be used as an identity proof for various purposes. Now that it has been made, I am eager to cast vote for the first time. But I will vote for the candidate of my father's choice ", said Chetna.

But certain first time voters had some common expectations.

They wanted incomplete development projects in the city to be completed soon as the delay had already created a lot of nuisance to the common masses. Some of them expected the new government to work with honesty and transparency.

The youth also hoped to get plenty of job opportunities by the party in power.



Vinayak starts campaign, hits out at Gaffar
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 21
Mr Ashootosh Vinayak, Bharatiya Janshakti Party (BJS) nominee from Malerkotla constituency, turned his guns on the SAD candidate accusing the latter of playing with the sentiments of the electorate of the constituency and changing parties frequently.

Addressing a gathering of party activists and his supporters at the main bazaar, Mr Vinayak accused Mr Abdul Gaffar, SAD-BJP alliance candidate from Malerkotla, of exploiting the sentiments of the people for his personal gains.

“The town could have achieved the status of a subdivision a decade ago had he (Mr Gaffar ) not opposed the move launched jointly by leaders of almost all political parties during the Congress government led by Beant Singh. Like all successive legislators of Malerkotla, he wanted to please a section of electorate at the cost of the interests of local residents,” said Mr Vinayak.

The BJSP candidate further alleged that Mr Gaffar had tried to get him eliminated by implanting an explosive at his residence when he was leading the Bharatiya Yuva Morcha. “Mr Gaffar, then MLA, instead of rescuing me shielded culprits by getting the probe into explosion interrupted,” argued Mr Vinayak.

Mr Vinayak promised that he would work for providing basic amenities to the residents of the town and surrounding villages, besides getting the suspects of the Sham Sunder case booked.

Mr Gora Lal Jain, Mr Vijay Goyal, Mr Ramesh Chand, Mr Kessar Khan Sodhi and Mr Prem Vishal were prominent among those present. 



‘SAD misleading voters’
Our Correspondent

Barmi , January 21
Contradicting allegations levelled by his opponents about allurement of voters by distributing utensils and other goods, Mr Harmohinder Singh Pardhan, Congress nominee for the Raikot Assembly, has accused the SAD nominee of misleading authorities and the voters out of frustration.

While talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Mr Pardhan alleged that his opponents, including Mr Ranjit Singh Talwandi, SAD nominee, were misleading the electorate and the authorities out of frustration. “Baffled over the poor response to his campaign in villages of the constituency, Mr Ranjit Singh Talwandi is making false propaganda over petty issues,” said Mr Pardhan maintaining that none of his supporters had lured any of the voters.

Mr Pardhan claimed that voters of the area had given good response during first phase of his campaign. “As people have understood the difference between policies of the SAD and that of the Congress, we will definitely win the elections. We are banking on massive development work undertaken with grants sent by Captain Amrinder Singh,” said Mr Pardhan.

Mr Sudarshan Joshi, president, Municipal Council, Raikot, and Nirmal Singh, Sarpanch, was also present on the occasion. 



Good work pays off for Razia Sultana
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 21
Ms Razia Sultana, Congress nominee from Malerkotla, received a shot in the arm when activists and office-bearers of a large number of social organisations announced their support to her by weighing her against coins and sweets at functions organised at the local grain market and the main bazaar today.

Acknowledging the role played by her in getting the long pending demands for a spacious grain market and a supplemented drainage system accepted, the office-bearers of various social and commercial organisations announced to support Ms Razia Sultana in the coming Assembly election. She was weighed against coins and laddoos at 20 places in the grain market and the main bazaar.

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 the development of the area I have performed my 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 of the grain market and the drainage system supplementation,” said Ms Razia while addressing a gathering after opening her campaign office opposite the Civil Hospital. 



Electioneering picks up in Khamano
Our Correspondent

Khamano, January 21
The election campaign in Khamano town and 27 villages falling under Samrala constituency is gaining momentum with the opening of election offices at Khamano and Sanghol by the SAD and the Congress nominees.

The election office of the SAD candidate, Mr Jagjivan Singh Khirnia, was inaugurated by the SAD (youth) president, Fatehgarh Sahib, Mr Gurpreet Singh Bhatti, at Sanghol yesterday.

In his address, Mr Bhatti appealed to the SAD and BJP workers to work hard for the alliance candidates to form government in the state. Union leader Sudhesh Sharma of Samrala, in his fiery speech, alleged that the Congress MLA, Mr Dhillon, had done precious little for the betterment of the constituency and had only benefited himself and his family members.

He also charged the Congress MLA and his supporters with the violation of model code of conduct. BJP leader Kuldeep Madaan said the Congress MLA betrayed the Khamano area people by making his nephew chairman of the local Market Committee. Mr Khirnia was weighed against coins here. His father, who is a member of the SGPC, appealed to the people to vote for him. 



Ludhiana Calling

Meeting a political leader is an arduous task most of the times. These days, however, the scenario has changed. What makes it even more interesting is that not only do political leaders listen to people, they do so patiently even when the things said to them are not so nice. A case in point was a recent interaction between industry and political leaders. Industrialists not only levied all kinds of allegations, they themselves arrived late for the meeting. Politicians could do nothing but wait for them and later, listen patiently, smilingly, to even the allegations.

English or Punjabi?

When SAD leader Mahesh Inder Singh began addressing industrialists in English at a meeting held recently, a couple of them asked him to speak in Punjabi instead. The leader, while promptly replying that he spoke in English as the questions asked to him by industrialists were in that language, added in a lighter vein, "If I had replied to your queries in Punjabi, a lot of you would have said that Akalis are uneducated..," making the entire gathering burst into a laughter.

Poor services

Call dropping rates seem to be at all time high. Despite high competition, woes of mobile phone users remain largely un addressed. Residents complain that it is common not to get through when they dial a certain number or get disconnected while talking. Service providers, on the other hand, never admit their fault and consumer not only has to suffer on account of poor services but even pay for excess charges which accrue on account of fault of companies only.

Politicians’ promise

Politicians are known to go back on their promises after they are elected. But this Congress leader chose to break the promises during the campaign only. He placed an order for 200 copies of a newspaper with a circulation executive of the daily. However, on delivery, he refused to take 100 copies arguing his picture was not used in that edition. ‘‘We politicians make such promises only" he remarked without batting an eyelid when reminded of his promise.

MC remembers birds

After ruining the ecology of the city by not taking care of parks and green belts, which forced birds to perish or flee, the Municipal Corporation's love for birds has suddenly come to the fore. In its new year calendar, it has printed pictures of rare and under extinction birds, sending the message to preserve those.

‘Westernised’ maid

A friend got a new maid from Chandigarh after "hard-labour". Although she found the new domestic help quite modern but being in service, she had no other option. The maid asked her employer which festivals fell in the month of February so that she could visit her 'mom'. The employer informed her politely as there was no festival in February, it would be better if she went to celebrate Holi (in March). The employer thought that she needed her the most in February as her daughter was to take final exams. The maid interrupted the employer saying,"you have forgotton the main festival- Valentines' Day? We wait for the day throughout the year. I must go and wish my friends on February 14". Poor employer kept on criticising western culture.

Just tea

A mentally challenged youth is often seen in Bhadaur House market. Covered well with woollens, the youth stands in the car-parking to get the warmth of sun. Children and youngsters of the area irritate him by snatching his stick, teasing him. He often asks a fellow journalist for a cup of tea and 'kulche-chane' available near the parking. Recently when the fellow journalist tried to give him Rs 20 to get whatever he wanted, he refused to take the money and made the fellow journalist clear that he just wanted a cup of tea and not the meals, so better give a two rupees coin only.

Number plate

Cops are supposed to protect laws. But more often than not , they are found on the wrong side of law. While the Punjab Police forces people to use authorised number plates of specific, size, colour and font on their vehicle, a police Gypsy of Samrala carries the registration number crudely scribbled with fingers on the car. The Gypsy makes a good impression on how the law should be followed.

Bus Vs taxi

Samrala Chowk is daily witnessing confrontation between the taxi drivers and staff of private buses. The bus staff objects to the presence of taxis at the stop alleging the taxi drivers lure passengers meant for buses. This causes unruly scenes daily especially in the evening. Most of the times, the transporters, who are more in number force taxi drivers to vacate the vehicle. Their muscle men recently harassed some girls who had just stopped at the crossing to take other women friends with them. But the muscle men were not convinced and gave them a hard time. It was only when the girls called for help from passersby that the transporters relented.

Poll fervour

Not only has election mood rubbed on political leaders and their supporters, common man too is not left untouched by the same. Jokes on politicians are common at public gatherings these days. As a resident narrated, "two women were hurling abuses on each other. Reacting to the first one, the second said she wished that the husband of the first one became a politician. In that case, he would either be meeting people or be seen in jail!"

Power cuts

Power supply has began playing truant again. Cuts have become frequent and also of longer duration. City residents are a troubled lot as poor power supply gives them bad summers and now the effect is showing in winters too! Adding to their woes is rising electricity bills. Now, this is one problem that seems never ending.

Women power

The city seems to have become a good statement on Women Power. Women are occupying most of the important seats of power in district administration. There is Ms Kanwaljit Kaur Brar who is posted as ADC, Dr Indu as SDM-West, Ms Amrit Kaur Gill as SDM-East, Ms Pinki Devi as District Revenue Officer and Ms Anupam Kaler, Executive Magistrate and SMO Manjit Kaur.

(contributed by Shveta Pathak, Kanchan Vasdev, Shivani Bhakoo and Jupinderjit Singh)



UN envoy prefers to keep his visit private
Rejects govt facilities
Our Correspondent

Bhupinder Singh Lidder
Bhupinder Singh Lidder

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 21
Mr Bhupinder Singh Lidder, Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations for Canada in Nairobi (Kenya), set an example by declining the Punjab Government's offer to avail facilities entitled for a state guest. He paid a visit to his native village Pohir near here as a commoner recently.

Intellectuals of the area have called upon administrators and office-bearers of various organisations to follow the example set by Mr Lidder as a step to conserve economy of the nation.

According to Kuldip Singh, a financier of local Dhulkot Road, Mr Bhupinder Singh Lidder had visited his native village after attending a marriage at Chandigarh recently. "Contrary to common belief and practice in India, that such an esteemed dignitary would be accompanied by a cavalcade of officials, he arrived with his kin in a private car and interacted with the villagers, including contemporaries of his father Dr Jodh Singh," said Mr Kuldip Singh while talking to the Tribune.

Referring to information received from Mr Lidder, Kuldip Singh said the Canadian Prime Minister had asked him (Mr Liddar) to be a state guest of the Punjab Government and Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhathal, Deputy Chief Minister, had offered to extend all facilities entitled for a state guest. But the official preferred to keep his visit private. "Why should I avail facilities, which are funded by the money collected from public; whereas, I have come to meet my friends," Mr Lidder had questioned Kuldip Singh.

Mr Lidder has been living in Canada since his childhood. The Canadian Government had earlier decided to post him as the Deputy Consulate in India, but later he was sent to Nairobi.

Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu, Director, Shri Har Krishan Educationist Trust, and Ms Parminder Kaur Walia, a social activist, called upon the administrators and office-bearers of various organisations to follow the example set by Mr Lidder. 



Keralites’ body celebrates silver jubilee 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 21
The Kerala Kalavedi, an association of Keralites, celebrated its silver jubilee here today.
The association was formed in 1981. An attractive souvenir carrying elaborated information about the association was released at the function. This souvenir also contained worth reading articles and advertisements from the business community of Ludhiana.

Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha, was the chief guest. He inaugurated the celebrations and released the souvenir.

Association members performed Mohiniattam, Bharathanatiam, and group Dances. A professional troupe from Kerala, ‘Cochin Sruthilaya’ entertained the gathering with ‘Ganamela’ (orchestra) comprising Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi and Punjabi songs.



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