L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Four days after building collapse, body found
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 29
A labourer had actually died in the collapse of an under-renovation building in an Sunder Nagar on March 25. Four days after the incident and the police declaration that there was no casualty, a decomposed body was retrieved from a heap of debri.

The body of the victim, Rajinder Kumar, was dug out after residents of the area complained of pungent smell emanating from the debri. The Basti Jodhewal police and a team of the district administration headed by Executive Magistrate Darbara Singh Randhawa carried out the operation.

Police sources said contractor Jitender Kumar had been booked for causing death by negligence. No action has been taken against the owner so far.

Interestingly, none of the five injured labourers had told the police about the possibility of a labourer crushed under the debri. The contractor had then told the police all labourers were present and no one was missing.

SHO Gurbans Bains said even today when neighbourers complained of foul smell , the contractor kept saying that none of his labourer was missing. Later, when the body of Rajinder Kumar was recovered, his relatives called at the site revealed he was employed with the contractor for the past 20 days

The relatives, who broke down at the sight of the body, said they were searching for the deceased for the past four days. The contractor had kept them in the dark also.

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Executive engineer caught accepting bribe
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 29
The local Vigilance sleuths have arrested an executive engineer of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) on the charges of taking bribe from a local Industrialist to give him a pollution clearance report.

A Vigilance team led by DSP Banarsi Dass caught executive engineer Sandeep Behl red handed, from his residence when he was taking Rs 15,000 as bribe from complainant Arun Kumar.

A Vigilance official told reporters that the accused was allegedly demanding Rs 25,000 from the industrialist otherwise he would take action against him for spreading pollution. The deal was struck at Rs 15,000.

Arun Kumar took the vigilance officials into confidence and got the official arrested red handed.

The vigilance also found 25 bottles of scotch and two cases of beer from the possession of the executive engineer. The official has been booked under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act besides the Excise Act for storing liquor in his house.

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We will go all the way to help people: Gosain
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana March 29
Even though Satpal Gosain could not make it to the cabinet once again, though he has been elected for the third term, but being the senior most legislator in the district, he is putting up a brave face. He believes that the legislators, irrespective of what responsibilities they get, are primarily elected to serve the people. "It is better to accept whatever responsibility you get", he remarked, while adding that he would continue to serve the people. At the same time he said, he would ensure transparency in the functioning of the government and proper utilisation of the funds meant for development.

Gosain happens to be a leader rooted among the workers. Despite facing a tough contender in Surinder Dawer of the Congress and that too after undergoing angioplasty during the election campaign itself, Gosain proved his 'never say die' attitude. An untiring leader who lives and works among the masses, was duly acknowledged by his supporters. When everybody thought he was loosing to Dawer, he, rather his supporters, proved everybody wrong.

During the past five years he was involved in a bitter confrontation with his rival, Dawer. They also filed criminal suits against each other. In fact he along with his supporters was physically lifted and manhandled by the police allegedly at the behest of his rival. However, Gosain maintains, that is past. "Let us look forward to cooperation and development", he remarked, while adding at the same time, the widespread allegations against certain people who enjoyed power, need to be probed. His hint is as clear as he tries to make it subtle. Things may not be too easy for his rival.

The soft spoken and down to earth Gosain at times sounds tough. Particularly when it comes to taking up public cause and more specifically for his supporters. Although having been appointed the deputy speaker, where he has to perform an impartial and non-partisan role, besides being part of the government, Gosain asserts, when it comes to redressal of the public grievances there would not be any compromise. "Our power come from the people and not from anywhere else", he remarked, while asserting that he can go to any extent for helping people solve their problems.

One personal question. How did he feel for not being appointed a minister despite being too senior and deserving. He said, it was the prerogative of the party. Like a loyal and disciplined soldier he accepted the party decision with all humility and grace. "That dose not make much difference", he observed, while promising that his supporters will never feel let down that their leader did not become a minister.

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Potato 'king' joins PAU management
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana March 29
Jang Bahadur Singh Sangha, better known as the king of potato cultivation, has been nominated as the new member to the board of management of Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana.

Vice-chancellor K S Aulakh, said Sangha has replaced Ranjit Singh Rana. He is the third alumnus of the PAU to be nominated to the board of management. Earlier two former PAU students, Avtar Singh Dhindsa and Adesh Kanwarjit Singh Brar served as members on the board.

Dhindsa is continues as member of the board, while Brar has been elected MLA from Muktsar. Sangha is internationally acclaimed potato grower from Quadian Wali village in Jalandhar district.

Using tissue culture technique, Sangha produces potato seed tubers on scientific lines on his 5500 acre farms spread across districts of Jalandhar, Kapurthala and Ludhiana. He produces 55000 tonnes of high quality potatoes seeds and supplies to farmers all over India as well as abroad. He has his own state-of-the-art tissue culture facility and plant pathology laboratory for disease testing.

Sangha did his B.Sc Agriculture (Hons) from PAU in 1990 and later he completed his Masters from Cornell University, USA in 1994. His father, Hardev Singh Sangha is also a graduate of the 1959 batch of Punjab Agriculture College, Ludhiana, which later became PAU.

Jang Bahadur runs 'Sanga Group' along with his father, which has tie ups with many big companies in Europe and USA. PAU Teachers Association, has welcomed the nomination of Sangha to the PAU board.

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SGPC chief writes to PM
Wants him to disband PSB board
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana,March 29
SGPC Chief Avtar Singh Makkar has called upon Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to disband the board of directors of Punjab and Sind Bank and reconstitute it.

Reacting to a news item in Ludhiana Tribune yesterday the SGPC president objected to the appointment of semi-literate persons as directors of Punjab and Sind Bank which was founded by Bhai Vir Singh, Sardar Sunder Singh Majithia and Sardar Tarlochan Singh in Amritsar with an aim to promote and develope the economy of Punjab. The SGPC and almost all Sikh institutions and organisation are patronising this bank.

In a letter to the PM, Makkar has expressed his satisfaction over the appointment of R.P. Singh an IAS officer as MD with whose efforts the bank which was showing loss of Rs 72 crores on March 31, 2005, has not only covered its losses, but has shown a profit of Rs 108 crores as on March 31, 2006. The bank is again going to show a profit of Rs 200 crores this year. In this way with the efforts of the chairman-cum-managing director R.P. Singh and his team of bank staff, the Punjab and Sind Bank is emerging as a premier bank of the country.

Makkar has regretted that influenced by the narrow party politics, the Government of India (Ministry of Finance) has appointed semi-literate directors in the bank.

Seeking immediate dissolution of the present board of directors, Makkar has called for given representation to the Punjabis on the board.

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Legal cell backs Amarinder
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 29
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee Legal Cell (PPCC) has criticised the SAD-BJP leadership for registration of a case in alleged 'City Centre Scam' against the former Chief Minister-Captain Amarinder Singh here yesterday.

Terming the case to be false and result of political vendetta, Dharmjit Singh Khera, chairman of the district legal cell and Rana Harjasdeep Singh said that they have resolved to stand like a rock with Captain Amarinder Singh.

These leaders claimed that Captain Amarinder Singh was falsely implicated just to settle political scores. During the election campaign, the SAD-BJP leaders were openly announcing that they would book the Congress leaders in the alleged City Centre scam. But the people know the reality, added Khera. Among others present in the meeting included-Kamaljit Sharma, Sharwan Sehgal, S S Garcha and Rahul Pathak. 

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Sudarshan Sharma is PPCC secy
Our Correspondent

Doraha, March 29
Sudarshan Kumar Sharma has been appointed secretary of the Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee from Payal. Congress leader Tejparkash Kotli while handing over the appointment letter to Sharma reposed full faith in his capabilities as a congress representative and a renowned social worker of the area.

Sharma has been serving as the general secretary of the district Congress committee for the past two terms. He has also remained on the post of the president of the Doraha municipal council. He was appointed vice-president to the council, too.

He is presently the patron of a social welfare club resident of Shiv Mandir Committee.

He is also a member of various social welfare organisations and associations of the area. As a Congress worker he has been instrumental in bringing on structural changes in the area as well as in surrounding villages.

President of the Doraha municipal council Harnam Kaur, Bant Singh Daburjee, Surinder Pal Sood, Jasminder Singh Jassa, Narinder Angrish, were among those who congratulated him on his appointment as the PPCC secretary.

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Former Bar Association chief missing
Our Correspondent

Samrala, March 29
People are clueless about the whereabout of former President of the local Bar Association Karam Singh Dhaliwal, who is missing from Samrala since Wednesday morning.

According to reports, Dhaliwal went to the house of an advocate to bring a book at about 8 am but when he did not return till 10 am to his house or at office, a few advocates and his friends started to searching for him.

At about 10. 30 a.m. his car was found parked near the Sarhind Canal at Dhande Kisti village. The car’s key was found lying in it.

The matter was reported to the local police. Samrala DSP Bhulla Singh rushed to the Sirhind canal and the flow of its water was stopped. Divers tried their best to locate him but in vain.

Both of his sons are studying abroad, his wife was a professor at Khalsa College for Women but resigned a few months ago. 

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Lover sets girlfriend on fire
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 29
An allegedly dejected lover set his girlfriend a fire in Preet Nagar last night. The girl identified as one of the six daughters of a rickshaw puller suffered 65 per cent burn injuries.

The incident was reported today after the girl who was admitted to a local hospital regained consciousness. She said she had an affair with Arun, a factory worker, and had gone to meet him last night. They had an argument over their future at which Arun set her on fire after dousing kerosene on her.

Arun is absconding. The division No. 2 police has registered a case against him.

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Political patronage may mar HC’s directive 
Discharge of pollutants in Budda Nullah
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 29
Political patronage may hamper the check on discharge of pollutants in the Budda Nullah as directed by the High Court a few days ago.

Municipal coropration’s warning

Waking up to the direction of the High Court on the Budda Nullah, the local municipal corporation yesterday warned the residents, dairy owners and dyeing industrialists to refrain from polluting the nullah otherwise serious action would be taken against them. The municipal authorities said if they continued to do so they would be prosecuted under Section 283(2) of the MC Act.

The High Court had, a few days ago, asked the state government and the local administration to ensure that no pollutant was discharged in the water body by March 31 and all industrial units discharging their toxic waste should be closed down by April 1.

The direction caused a stir among the local electroplating and dyeing units which approached the newly-elected representatives and the Chief Minister over the issue. After a few meetings with the higher authorities, the industrialists are now sitting pretty stating that the state government had promised to not to take any action against them for another two months.

Though neither the politicians nor the industrialists were willing to come on record on the outcome of those meetings, an industrialist told Ludhiana Tribune requesting anonymity that they were given two months time.

‘‘We have been told that the Pollution Control Board would not say anything to us and we can continue running our units till that time. We had met a local MLA, who arranged our meeting with higher officials. We asked them that we would shift our units after two months. They agreed and asked us to continue with the working, ’’ said an industrialist who said that the High Court's direction had left them gripped with fear of closing down of their units.

Even a local MLA also confirmed that the state government had given a green signal to the industry.

With the development the electroplating and dyeing units have heaved a sigh of relief but the environmentalists and those who had waged a war against pollution in the water body are upset.

Though it remains to be seen whether the local administration remains unmoved over the High Court’s order or not, the industrialists are confident that this time too they would go scot free.

The electroplating and dyeing units have been major sources of pollutants in the initially fresh water body that was converted into a polluted nullah better known as ‘River of Sorrow’ in the city. These units had been held responsible as they had been discharging their chemical-laced waste water directly into the body polluting the ground water to alarming proportions in the city.

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EO stays away from office

Ludhiana, March 29
Despite the Administrator of Ludhiana Improvement Trust cancelling the leave of Executive Officer, D.C. Garg, who is an accused in the infamous city centre scam, the latter failed to join the office yesterday.

Administrator S.R. Kaler said that disciplinary action would be taken against the official for abstaining from duty. He added that he had written to the state government that the official was staying away from his office and public work was suffering. — TNS

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Tributes paid

Samrala, March 29
Tributes were paid to Kartar Kaur Dhillon, sister-in-law of local former MLA Amrik Singh Dhillon and mother of contractor Manjinder Singh Dhillon at the local Bharti palace yesterday. — OC

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‘Mama-bhanja’ in police net
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 29
The local police has arrested an allegedly notorious ‘mama- bhanja’ duo (uncle-nephew) of Dabba colony, who were expert in stealing wires and cables from atop mobile phone towers.

The duo not only shared the name, Gurpreet Singh, but also the expertise, which enabled them to steal cables/wires from 17 towers amount to over Rs 30,000. The police arrested them after a raid yesterday. They were residents of Dabba Colony. Police was questioning them about their involvement in other crime of similar nature.

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Electroplating industry trying hard to meet deadline 
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 29
Scared of facing closures on account of inability to put the common effluent treatment plant (CETP) to operation, local electroplating industry is now making last ditch attempts to meet the new deadline of May 31 given by the P. Ram Committee.

The committee had ordered closure of electroplating units if they failed to get the CETP operational by March 31. However, the date was extended at a recent meeting by another two months on account of pleas given by secretary- cum-director, Industries and Commerce, Punjab, Sanjay Kumar, who is also the chairman of the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV)formed for the purpose.

While the SPV, named Ludhiana Effluent Treatment Society, has invited tenders for transportation of effluent to the treatment plant, its representatives said the process of putting the CETP to operation could not be furthered until the transportation contractor for the job was finalised. The tenders would be opened on March 31. It was on this ground that the committee agreed to extend the date.

As of now, industry representatives are quite disappointed with the lukewarm response received from industrialists only 40 of whom have applied for its membership. "As per records 300 industry units have obtained consent and we estimate the number of such units to be over 500. However, only 40 have applied for membership so far," said Joginder Kumar, CEO of the Ludhiana Effluent Treatment Society.

While the P.Ram Committee has asserted that "no further extension would be allowed at any cost and units shall stand closed after May 31, 2007", industry representatives feel the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) too should make efforts to help industry in the direction.

"We are approaching industrialists through whatever means we have. We want that the PPCB should publicly ask industrialists to become members of this SPV so that the process of putting the CETP to operation is speedened up."

Membership to the CETP would mean a fee of Rs 2,500 plus an additional annual charge alongwith expenses on individual basis. "We are quite keen to put the CETP to operation and want to tell the ones who are reluctant to become members of the SPV that they should be ready to face closure," added Kumar.

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