L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Migrant child rescued from Bihar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 22
The city police has rescued a 6-year-old boy, who was kidnapped for a ransom of Rs 8 lakh from the city and kept in the forests of Bihar for a fortnight. The alleged main kidnapper was a relative of the victim, who had connived with a gang of kidnappers with a motive to become rich fast.

He knew the child’s parents had no money but was forcing them to sell their 30-yard house to arrange the ransom money.

A police team on the trail of the accused had to almost scout the entire Bihar state to nab him. The kidnappers kept shifting their hideouts knowing the police was on their trail. All this while, the kidnappers kept threatening to kill the boy if he raised the alarm.

The child, Rahul, one of the five children of a migrant couple working in a local factory, had gone missing on March 8 evening. The family later received a ransom call from a relative, Amarjit Singh (brother-in-law), that the child was in his possession. He demanded Rs 8 lakh to release him.

SSP R.K. Jaiswal told reporters this afternoon that a police team located the kidnappers by tracing their phone calls. However, the kidnappers managed to escape a number of times. A police head constable was sent to the kidnappers with money as decoy manager of the factory where child’s father Raghunath was employed.

However, the kidnappers fled getting a clue of the police plan. The police managed to arrest one of their aides, who was harbouring them. The aide later helped the police in tracking down the other kidnappers.

Jaiswal said the main kidnapper, Amarjit Singh, and one Vilas Mandal were arrested. They were produced in a court in Beghusarai in Bihar. They were brought here on transit remand till March 23.

The police was on the lookout for one Suresh, a key member of the gang, who belongs to Amritsar and had allegedly planned the entire kidnapping. He was allegedly wanted in some murder cases also.

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Police ups vigil to check sand-mining fee mafia
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 22
Special police checkpoints have been set up in KoomKalan and Dhanansu areas of the district to prevent a number of persons from illegally pocketing lakhs of rupees in form of the ‘sand-mining fee’ by issuing receipts in the name of religious places.

Most of the illegal groups were supported by local Akali leaders, who were exploiting their might after the change of government. They did not allow the employees of actual contractor Balbir Singh to continue the sand mining from the specified areas. The contractor held the 1.57 crore worth sand-mining contract of the entire district.

Moreover, the groups also forced truck drivers to transport sand taken out by farmers from their fields without paying the stipulated levy to the contractor.

As per the rules, the farmers can sell off sand from their private fields but have to pay levy to the contractor. The alleged illegal groups had set up their own checkpoints claiming they were the ‘contractors’ now following the change of the government.

They were issuing receipts of religious places to show that the money was donation to the religious place. SHO Gurpreet Singh said the police had to intervene in the matter after such receipts were recovered.

Even though a compromise was reached between the alleged illegal groups and the contractor with the intervention of the city police and the sand- mining department today afternoon, the police was not taking any chances and had kept the ckeckpoints in place

Sources said the illegal practice was underway for two weeks but no case was registered. Moreover, the compromise effected today did not provide that the alleged illegal parties undertaking the sand mining and pocketing the fee all these days would repay it.

SHO Sahnewal Gurpreet Singh said the police had successfully effected compromise between the two parties. He said it had become a contentious issue and was a potential threat to law and order problem.

He said the police force would remain deployed to ensure no one violates the compromise.

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Good Samaritan waits for justice
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 22
He had dared to save a family from being harassed by an unruly mob in Sarafa Bazar on the eve of holi. He suffered injuries all over his body, 18 stitches on his head, fracture in ribs and is now facing harassment by making endless rounds of the kotwali and police offices in seeking arrest of the accused.

Not only has he been denied justice, the police has not even taken injury report from a local hospital to proceed further. The injury report is essential to impose serious penal sections against the accused.

Shelly told the Ludhiana Tribune that on the fateful evening the family of a councillor was being harassed by an unruly group.

The group had thrown oil and mud on the couple and their children as part of their idea of celebrating a holi. When the couple confronted the group, they were attacked.

Shelly was present in the narrow market and came to the rescue. However, he was hit with a sharp-edged weapon on his head and lost consciousness.

The police has till date not arrested the accused.

He was not being given medical report documents also. Shelly has appealed to the city SSP R.K. Jaiswal to intervene in the matter.

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Beating case: Cop suspended
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 22
Taking a tough stand against unruly cops, the city SSP, R.K. Jaiswal, has today suspended a traffic police constable for allegedly beating a rickshaw- puller at Jagraon bridge on March 20.

The constable, Jai Kishan, had allegedly beaten a rickshaw-puller, Sunil, who did not pay him ‘money’. SSP Jaiswal told reporters that he had sent a SP-rank officer to the spot and on his report has put the constable under suspension.

He said the constable had unnecessarily used force at the victim and had allegedly extorted money.

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Docs up in arms against Mahila Cong leader
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, March 22
Irked over a ruckus created by a Mahila Congress leader and her supporters, who also manhandled a doctor of the Civil Hospital here, the doctors along with activists of the PCMS Association today staged a protest demanding stern action against the rowdy elements and better security for the doctors.

The protesting doctors, in a memorandum submitted to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, have called for creating a conducive atmosphere in the Civil Hospital so that the doctors and the supporting staff could perform their duty without fear or favour.

According to PCMS Association state president Dr Hardeep Singh, a mob led by Mahila Congress leader Usha Malhotra made Dr Harpreet Singh, posted at the Civil Hospital, to conduct a postmortem examination under duress. Not only this, the doctor on duty was also manhandled and kept confined to the mortuary for more than half an hour.

He said as per prevailing norms, no postmortem could be conducted after 5 pm but in this case the postmortem was marked at 5.30 pm. Instead of cooperating with the duty doctors, the Congress leader obstructed the doctor from performing his duties. The unruly supporters of the leader also manhandled Dr Suresh Kaushal when he tried to intervene and rescue his colleague Dr Harpreet Singh.

“Ironically, the incident happened right in front of SDM Indu Malhotra. Moreover, the policemen deployed at the police post in the hospital also remained mute spectators”. Dr Hardeep Singh claimed that similar incidents had gone unreported in the past and the inaction on the part of the authorities had emboldened the anti-social elements, who often resorted to unprovoked and unruly behavior.

Maintaining that the doctors fraternity in general and those in the Civil Hospital in particular were terrified after the incident, the PCMSA chief urged the government and the district administration to provide better security arrangements for the doctors and supporting staff.

General secretary of the association Dr Balwinder Kumar pointed out that apart from two medical colleges, the city was host to so many referral centres.

The number of postmortems conducted at the Civil Hospital here was even higher than the government medical colleges.

In view of this the doctors wanted a separate forensic department set up in the Civil Hospital to cope up with the pressure.

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Save water or perish: Aulakh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 22
Vice-chancellor Punjab Agricultural University K.S. Aulakh, today said at a function organised in connection with the World Water Day that if due care was not taken to preserve the water sources, the mankind was doomed to perish.

Drawing attention towards declining water table in Punjab, Aulakh remarked that the wheat-paddy mono-cultural pattern resulted in grave environmental and economic fallouts for the citizens, in general and for the farmer, in particular.

The fast exhausting ground aquifers as well as serious imbalance between the rate of water recharge and its withdrawal augured a bleak future for the state’s farming, he warned.

Water crisis should be handled with prudence, Dr Aulakh opined, adding that the successive generations would not condone excessive exploitation of this natural resource. He suggested shifting the date of paddy transplantation from June 10 to June 30, as one of the measures to arrest water decline. Sowing short duration varieties of rice and diversification in favour of less water requiring crops were the other remedies.

In order to infuse a common understanding of principles of environment conservation for the wellbeing of the state, he suggested pest analysis of deteriorating natural resources, which would reveal political, economic, social and technological ramifications.

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Fake licence no ground to deny claim: Consumer forum
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, March 22
The mere possession of fake licence is not a valid ground to repudiate the claim of a consumer. It has been held by the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum while directing the National Inusrance Company to pay the claim to the aggrieved consumer alongwith interest.

A.S. Narula, president, Puja Dewan, and Daljit Singh Bakshi, members of the forum pronounced the orders while deciding the complaint filed by Gurmail Singh of Noorpur Bet village.

It was submitted by the complainant that he had got one of his vehicle insured with the said insurance company for the period starting April 19, 2004, to April 18, 2005. Rs 13,661 were paid as premium. On December 14, 2004, his vehicle met with an accident near bus stand, Khanna, in the early morning, while coming back from New Delhi.

It was claimed that the driver was driving very slowly due to fog in the early morning. A tractor-trailor was going in front of their vehicle, whose driver suddenly applied brakes on the national highway. Inspite of best efforts their vehicle strucked against the another vehicle.

Then the insurance company was informed, who deputed a surveyor. The surveyor assessed the claim but the same was repudiated by the insurance company on the ground that the driver was not possessing valid licence at the time of accident, added the complainant.

He further added that he had seen the driving licence of his driver. He was under the impression that the person having the driving licence was competent to drive the vehicle.

Moreover, his driver was never disqualified by any licencing authority. So, he was entitled to the claim of Rs 1.5 lakhs apart from compensation of Rs 50,000 due to deficiency in services on the part of insurance company.

However, the counsel for insurance company strongly refuted the claims and allegations of complainant. It was submitted that the surveyor had assessed the loss of Rs 91,707 and salvage was assessed at Rs 3,700.

The driving licence of the driver was got verified from the Licencing Authority, Siliguri. It was reported by them the said driving licence number was not found in their register. Hence, the claim was repudiated as it was in contravention of the terms and conditions of the policy.

But after appreciating the evidence on record, the forum did not agree with the stand of insurance company. It observed that the report of surveyor appointed by the company leaves no doubt that there was no lack of skill on the part of driver.

He had mentioned in his report that loss was held to be accidental in nature. A vehicle going in front of the insured vehicle in thick fog suddenly applied breaks, which resulted into the accident.

‘If the insurer is able to prove breach on the part of the insured concerning insurance policy conditions, regarding holding of a valid licence by the driver or his qualification to drive, the insurer would not be allowed to avoid its liability unless the said breach be so fundamental as is found to have contributed to the cause of accident’, further observed the forum.

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100 BSNL employees donate blood 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 22
Around 100 telecom employees donated blood at a state-level blood donation camp, organised by the BSNL Employees Union (BSNLEU), Punjab Telecom Circle, at Bharat Nagar Telephone Exchange here today to mark the sixth foundation day of the union.

Hoisting the union flag at the blood donation camp, the BSNLEU circle president R.L. Moudgil said the union was formed on March 22, 2001, at Vishakhapatnam after the merger of seven unions of erstwhile DoT. Circle secretary Balbir Singh read out the message received from the national general secretary V.A.N. Namboodiri on the occasion.

Addressing the BSNL employees, Dr Arnarjit Kaur, professor and head, Transfusion Medicine at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, focused on the importance of blood donation. Lauding the initiative of the telecom employees, she said voluntary blood donation could save many a precious human life. For the thalassemic children and victims of other blood diseases, this was the only ray of hope, she added.

General manager telephones S.K. Nigam while inaugurating the camp hailed the gesture of the employees which, he said, was a real service to the ailing humanity. Nigam was also among the first batch of volunteers to donate blood.

According to BSNLEU district secretary Balwinder Singh, a langar was organised by the union for the blood donors and others present at the camp. He also expressed gratitude to the doctors and supporting staff of the DMCH for their assistance in making the camp a success.

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Market committee chairman resigns
Our Correspondent

Samrala, March 22
The chairman of the local Market committee, Harpal Singh Dhillon, has sent his resignation by fax to Samrala Office and to the chairman of the Punjab Mandikarn Board, Ajmer Singh Lakhowal.

In a telephonic talk the with the Ludhiana Tribune, Harpal Singh Dhillon, said: “Though I am very late in submitting my resignation, which was my moral duty to do so on the same day when the Congress Party in Punjab lost his power, but "Better late than never," he added.

It is also worth mentioning here that Harpal Singh Dhillon, who had done remarkable duties, i.e. construction of sheds, new roads in Samrala Market, repair of roads, water arrangements for the farmer in the markets, cattle sheds in the markets etc.

Moreover, he has never claimed his salary or tour allowances which were his right, but he did all the works on merit basis.

In the meantime, farmers of the Samrala Market Area, including politicians, representatives of the trade unionists demanded from the Punjab, not to accept

The registration of Harpal Singh Dhillon, as chairman from the market Samrala, may they accept or to remove all the chairman of market committee in Punjab.

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Need for social security plan stressed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 22
The senior citizens applaud the decision taken by the Union finance minister for formulation of a proposal in the Budget 2007 for the social security of the senior citizens. But effective implementation of this much-hyped forthcoming legislation, which would provide them legal remedy against neglect by their children, is not stated clearly.

They feel that a national policy on elders had always made a little impact, rues R.R. Katyal, a senior citizen and general secretary, Kidwai Nagar Welfare Association.

He further stated in a press note that the senior citizens, which form about 50 per cent of the total population generally, live in miserable conditions and die uncared for. The government must ensure that elders are not harassed by children so that they could live peacefully by engaging in Red Cross activities, and other social welfare activities, added Katyal. 

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Tributes paid to martyrs
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 22
Glowing tributes were paid to martyrs Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru on the eve of the martyrdom anniversary here today. A series of functions and processions were organised by different organisations to mark the occasion.

The Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha activists took out a procession at Tagore Nagar area, holding pictures of the martyrs.

The Punjab Agricultural University Employees Union also held a rally in the campus to pay the tributes. A play ‘Shahidi Banam Khudkashi’ was also staged by Prof Sompal Hira highlighting the significance of the sacrifices made by the martyrs. 

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Understand mutual funds before investing: Experts 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 22
Mutual funds are becoming an attractive investment avenues for the Indian investors, thanks to the bullish Indian stock markets. Rising stock market has ignited the growth rate in the mutual fund industry to provide reasonable options to an ordinary man for investing his savings. Before investing in mutual funds, investors generally refer to the past record of the return given by a particular scheme, but every investor should keep in mind that return is not the only criteria to invest. One must consider some volatility measures before investing.

Pallavi Dawra, faculty, Punjab College of Technical Education, said standard deviation needed to be considered, which measured the dispersion of fund’s periodic returns (often based on 36 months of monthly returns). The wider the dispersion, the larger the standard deviation and higher the risk. Standard deviation could not be used in isolation, one needs to check the standard deviation of other funds to get a better picture of the fund’s relative volatility.

Another statistical measure, share ratio referred to portfolio’s historic “risk adjusted” performance and was calculated by dividing a fund’s excess return. “In other words it is used to describe how well the return of an asset compensated the investor for the risk taken,” said Dawra.

She suggested that people must not invest in any mutual fund blindly. “There are many technical words and one must understand the meanings of these terms. Like the Beta measure tells about portfolio’s sensitivity to market movements. High-Beta mutual fund schemes are supposed to be riskier, but provide a potential for higher returns, mutual fund schemes pose less risk but also lower returns,” added Dawra.

Gyan Aggarwal, a regular mutual fund investor, said one must know the pros and cons before investing in any scheme. He said the alpha of the mutual funds described the difference between the funds actual return over a period of time and its expected return, given the fund’s level of risk. “It is noticed that a fund with positive alpha has done better than expectation, while a fund with negative alpha has done worse than the expectations,” said Aggarwal.

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Industry unhappy over rising interest rates 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 22
Unhappy over the rising bank interest rates, the local industry said today the impact was quite severe on medium and small enterprises.

Blaming the government for adopting “faulty policies”, president of the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry P.D. Sharma said: “It is due to the faulty policies of the Central Government to control inflation that monetary measures are being applied. Such measures are effective in developed economies, which have greater financial inclusion. They are less effective in economies like India where the majority of population still has no access to banks”.

Increase in the statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) had resulted in a liquidity crunch in the market, said industrialists. “With the increase in the SLR, the RBI has impounded Rs 14,000 crore of bank funds. As a result there is a liquidity crunch in the market. The call rate of banks even lose up to 75 per cent. In a recent survey commissioned by the British Bankers Association in 1992-1994 of the population of the United Kingdom has either a current or a saving bank account. On the other hand the ratio of deposit accounts to the total adult population is only 59 per cent in our country”.

They said the rising interest rates did not affect large scale companies much. “There is no effect of raising the rate of interest on larger companies, which have access to stock markets and foreign avenues. Broadly, out of the total bank credit of around Rs 20 crore the larger listed companies account for less than 5 per cent. Moreover, big companies have access to funds overseas and their cost of borrowing is very less and does not change with the RBI measures. As a result with the RBI monetary measures these companies get advantage over small and medium companies in whose case the interest rate is rising,” said Sharma.

The interest rates have increased by more than 3 per cent in the past one and a half years. The cost of funds from overseas is just the half of what it is in India. Some major sectors of the industry have incentives under which 5 per cent bank interest rate is reimbursed. To top all these disadvantages the Central Government is adding its own share of problems to the small scale sector in particular.

There are reports, which suggest that the Central Government is pressing the Indian Bankers Association to earmark 16 per cent of the priority sector lending for minorities, he added.

Currently the priority sector is entitled for 40 per cent bank advance. The pressure on the banks is very intensive. The finance ministry is believed to have said the lending pattern to the minorities too would play a role in determining the performance-based incentive for bank chairman. The banks are supposed to provide quarterly and half yearly information on credit facilities to the minorities. This is a highly condemnable aspect. Due to liquidity crunch exporters are also suffering due to rising rupee, the Chamber said.

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