L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Street flooded with sewage water for 2 years
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 11
A street in the G block of Sarabha Nagar is flooded due to the overflowing of sewage water for the past two years. Despite repeated complaints by residents to the municipal corporation authorities, the snag has not been rectified.

Due to the stagnant water on the road, mosquitoes breed and many residents have fallen ill due to various diseases in the past two years. This does not, however, seem to bother the authorities concerned.

Jagdev Singh, a resident, said his 25-year-old son had contracted dengue twice last year due to stagnant water, but their requests to the authorities had fallen on deaf ears.

Showing a thick file of complaints filed to the MC, Jagdev Singh said he had written around 20 letters in the past but to no avail. ‘‘After I hammer them, they send an employee who does a stop-gap arrangement and opens the blocked manhole. But as soon as he leaves, water starts overflowing again and things are back to square one within a few hours. ’’

‘‘Our street remains flooded without rains. We have to wade through ankle deep water if we have to go out. The water stinks throughout the day and it becomes difficult for us to sit in our lawns. We keep or windows tightly closed throughout the day so that we do not have to suffer the stench,” he added.

The residents complained that mosquitoes were breeding in the water, as larvae could be seen on its surface. “It seems that no lessons have been learnt from the last year’s spread of dengue when hundreds of people suffered from this disease. They should have been alerted by the start of this season, but the state of matters is disgusting.’’

“Getting the water drained from our street in this posh colony has become a battle of sorts for us. My son remained admitted to the DMC — and Apollo hospital in October and November, respectively, last year. I and my family had to undergo the trauma. But is anybody bothered about our plight?” asked Jagdev Singh angrily. 

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Water shortage hits city
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 11
The summer is still settling down, but the city has already started witnessing water shortage, as cries of low pressure and drying tap are being heard from many areas.

The residents of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar today complained that they were facing water scarcity for last many days and repeated complaints to the local body had not yielded any results.

Pran Nath Bhatia, a former councillor of the area, said the residents were scarce of every drop of water, as some illegal colonies, including New Sham Nagar and New BRS Nagar, were given water and sewerage connection from the main line supplying to SBS Nagar.

Bhatia threatened that if the water supply was not restored within two days they would be forced to sit on a dharna to protest against the shortage of water. “We are suffering for every drop. Our daily chores keep lying incomplete due to non availability of water,” said R.K. Sharma, another resident, adding that if such a situation had arisen at this point, what would be the state of affairs in the extreme weather.

Residents of Urban Vihar, Jwaddi also complained of shortage of drinking water for the last many months. Despite various representations to the Municipal Corporation(MC) authorities, the water supply to the area has not been restored.

The residents claimed that they had to queue up before the tankers in the mornings and evenings, to fill buckets of water.

“You cannot live like this. It seems we are living in some desert from where we have to carry water everyday for our daily needs,’” said Ranjit Kaur, a resident of the area and president of Urban Vihar, Punjabi Bagh Welfare Association.

She threatened that they if the water supply to their area was not restored, they would sit on a dharna outside the Zone D office of the Municipal Corporation.

Angry residents said they had been suffering for water shortage for last many months. The problem was compounded now, as a new tube well installed was yet to get an electricity connection.

Reports of water shortage were being received from ward number 6 and ward number 39. The residents of Kidwai Nagar also complained of water shortage. After making repeated complaints to the MC, the residents said they would move the District Consumer Redressal Forum against the civic body.

Residents claimed that low pressure was plaguing the supply for last two years but nothing was done to sort out their problem. They added that around 70 to 80 families, living near Shiv Shakti Mandir, were having trouble due to short supply.

“We are sick of complaining to the authorities. We have to install electric motors to get water. For the deficiency of MC we are paying double the amount for water, to the civic body and the Punjab State Electricity Board for drawing water with the help of electric motors. Why should we suffer?” a resident asked.

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Amritpal murder case solved
Gang of car thieves busted
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 11
They befriended taxi drivers, won their families’ trust and eventually gave them the biggest shock of their lives by brutally murdering the drivers. All this for stealing and selling the taxi for a few lakh rupees. Out of the booty, some of the newly recruited gang members got a small share of even less than Rs 10,000 for taking away a life.

One of the accused commits suicide

Rajweer Singh, one of the four absconding accused in the taxi driver murder case, had allegedly committed suicide on April 7 by jumping before a train near Assi Kalan village, the Ludhiana police learnt this evening.

SSP R.K. Jaiswal said a maternal uncle of the deceased told a raiding team of the Ludhiana police about the suicide. The railway police confirmed the identity of Rajweer Singh.

He said Rajweer’s relatives wanted him to surrender to the police, at which he had run away from the house.

The city police today claimed to have busted one such well-organised gang of car thieves which had brutally murdered a taxi driver, Amritpal Singh, on March 31 for stealing his car. His body was fished out of the Abohar feeder canal at the Rania head works, near Moga, last evening.

Gurpreet Singh, a key member of the alleged gang, was arrested. SSP R.K. Jaiswal said he was a drug addict and wanted money at any cost to fulfil his need for narcotics. The police was on the lookout for four other gang members, including the leader, Satnam Singh.

SSP Jaiswal said the gang was responsible for the killing of several other taxi drivers in the north region. The police had got relevant information about other incidents. He said the details of other cases could not be disclosed at this juncture.

He revealed that the kingpin, Satnam Singh, alias Jassi, resident of Manakwal village, chose the victims. He along with Ganja, a resident of CRP Colony, Rajveer Singh and Jyoti of Assi Kalan village carried out the murders. They chose a person close to the victim to win his trust.

In Amritpal’s case, the gang members chose Gurpreet Singh. SSP Jaiswal said Gurpreet was a drug addict. He and others took away Amritpal on March 31 in his taxi (No PB-10 BW-7619). They first went to Manakwal village, then to Assi Kalan and Raikot. That night, they all consumed liquor at a tubewell room near Dasunda village. When Amritpal got a little drunk, they all pounced on him with sharp-edged weapons and killed him. Later, they tied his hands and legs, took the body in his own taxi and threw the corpse in the Abohar feeder canal.

The police learnt about the missing driver on April 5 only, when Veena Mehta of Nirmal Nagar, Dugri, complained to the police that Amritpal, who had been running her car as a taxi for couple of years, had gone missing.

An investigation team, led by SHO Waryam Singh, learnt that Amritpal was last seen with Gurpreet Singh. When the police stepped up raids to nab him and his friends, they left the car near Macchiwara fearing the police can catch them easily if the car was recovered.

The police recovered the stolen car two days ago. The police found some blood stains and a bunch of hair of the deceased in the car even though the accused tried their level best to remove all clues.

SSP Jaiswal said Gurpreet Singh, nabbed during a raid at Issa Nagar here yesterday, led the police to the place where the body was dumped. The body was recovered last evening. The police videographed the entire process.

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Accident victim kept lying on roadside for 10 hours
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 11
A profusely bleeding accident victim with head injuries kept lying on the roadside for about 10 hours here today waiting for help but neither the police nor any social worker came to his rescue.

An ambulance sent by a private hospital was sent back from the spot as the Latala police refused to accompany the injured because “the area did not fall under its jurisdiction.”

Identified as Najar Singh of Bhaini Darera village, the 40-year-old accident victim kept lying unconscious for about 10 hours along the Ahmedgarh-Rachhin road near Maherna Khurad village, near here. It was finally a service provider physician posted at a dispensary at Rachhin village who came to his rescue and shifted him to the local civil hospital from where he was referred to Rajindra Hospital, Patiala.

Investigations revealed that the injured was spotted by passersby early in the morning. They, besides informing the Latala police, sent a message to Bhaini Darera but nobody turned up to take him to hospital.

So much so that an ambulance sent by Hind Hospital after receiving information from a caller was sent back as the Latala police personnel standing there refused to accompany the victim to the hospital, according to Dr Sunit Hind.

It was about 10 am that Dr Sukhwinder Singh, a service provider posted at Rahhin village dispensary, shifted Nazar Singh to the local civil hospital.

Dr Rajesh Garg and Pardeep Sood, attending on the injured, said he had suffered multiple injuries and his skull was also fractured. They added that he had bled badly and was serious.

“As we did not have enough arrangements to handle patients with severe head injuries, we referred the injured to Rajindra Hospital, Patiala, after providing possible treatment to him.”

According to Balwinder Kaur, victim’s wife he (Najar Singh) was an addict and used to remain away from home for months together. “Whenever he came home, he used to harass us physically and mentally. It was at about 11 am that we received information from SHO, Sadar, Ahmedgarh, that he was lying unconscious at civil hospital,” said Balwinder Kaur.

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Woman killed over suspected illicit relationship
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 11
Suspicion over his wife's character allegedly led a man to strangle her to death with the help of a friend in Karamsar Colony early this morning.

The father of the victim, Seeto, found her strangled to death at her husband’s house this morning. The police later caught her husband Surinder Singh and a friend Laddi on the charge of murdering her.

Police sources said the accused Surinder Singh was beating his wife frequently, accusing her of infidelity. She went away to her parent's place last evening after one such quarrel. However, Surinder Singh went late at night and brought her back, insisting he won't misbehave again.

The police claimed that he, along with his friend, beat her again and killed her.

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Petrol stations to remain closed tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 11
More than 2,500 petrol stations across the state will remain closed on Friday in protest against the government’s inaction on the long-standing demand of dealers regarding increase in their commission.

The strike is part of the nationwide strike call given by the Federation of All India Petroleum Traders (FAIPT). “Our demand has been pending for more than three years now and dealers are suffering on account of government’s inaction,” said co-ordinator of the Federation of All India Petroleum Traders (FAIPT) J.P. Khanna.

He said the dealers would intensify their stir and would not hesitate to go on an indefinite strike if the matter was not sorted out.

Dealers are demanding a commission on a percentage basis, though currently they are getting Rs 890 per kilo litre for petrol and Rs 520 per kl for diesel. Khanna said over the years, the commission had declined.

“It is for several years now that we have been asking for dealers’ commission to be given on a percentage basis. We want a 5 per cent commission, but as of now it is fixed and is a very small sum. Considering the fact that petrol stations are expected to provide services of international standards, the commission they are getting is much lesser compared to countries like Malaysia, where it is 6 per cent, Pakistan 5 per cent and Thailand 7 per cent.”

The commission was 8.2 per cent in 1965, it reduced to 1.92 per cent in 2001 and has further come down to 1.58 per cent now, he added.

Another issue raised by the federation is regarding the calculation of operational losses. Dealers are seeking a “rational formula” to calculate these losses.

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‘Reduce interest rate on EPF’

Samrala, April 11
J.P. Singh, vice-president of the All India PNB staff union and B.B. Goyal, PNB officers Association, Punjab (Ludhiana-region) have strongly deplored the central government’s move in reducing the rate of interest on the Employees Provident Fund to 8.25 per cent from 8.50 per cent per annum.

Such a move amounts to treachery with the working class whose only cushion for social security available in the form of fixed funds at the time of retirement, continued to be devalued at will by the employees at the behest of the Central government, they said.

Curbing inflation by reducing the purchasing power in the hands of the working class by depriving them to have an interest earning on their saving even below what the banking system offered was certainly quite unfair to the working class. The leaders also said that such a move would be resisted by the employees tooth and nail and said the government must think before taking any final decision.

The leaders said the government must concentrate on bungling in the stock market and control strong undercurrents of the parallel black money economy, instead of playing with the employees hard-earned savings. — OC

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Scholarships given to needy students
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 11
Under the 24th student help programme and on the eve of the sixth foundation day of the Yog Aur Sewa Pariwar (YSP), Rs 10,500 was distributed among seven students of the Government College for Women today, who had lost their fathers.

This was the second half yearly instalment of the scholarship. These students will be given Rs 3000 per year for three consecutive years. A total sum of Rs 63,000 would be spent on this help programme.

In a brief speech, principal Prabhjot Kaur thanked the YSP for its fiscal help to the needy students. She exhorted the students to show good results and scale greater heights in life. G.R.Vig, president of the YSP, Usha Jain, Arun Garg and Amarjeet Singh distribiuted Rs 1500 to each of the seven students. A light refreshment was also given to the students. Professor Sarbjot Kaur advised the students to work hard. 

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Mall to come up in Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 11
Shergill Promoters and Developers today announced that it would develop 10 to 10, a lifestyle mall, in Khanna. The mall would be launched in 2008.

"The mall will have an anchor store, hyper mart, a 550-seat multiplex, food court, apart from dedicated kids and entertainment zone. As it would be located on the highway, it would be an ideal stopover," said Gurprit Singh Shergill, managing director, in a press note issued here today.

The mall would be equipped with state- of-the-art infrastructure in addition to 300 car covered parking area, open parking space. It will also have wi-fi connectivity, he added.

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Arrest of property dealer’s killers sought
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 11
Eleven days after a property dealer in Dugri was murdered by more than eight persons, all belonging to one family, the wife of the deceased along with her three minor children and a couple of relatives knocked the doors of the SSP, seeking the arrest of the accused.

Angrej Singh, a relative of the deceased, said even though three of the accused were caught on the spot only, the Model Town police did not arrest anyone after that.

Ranjit Kaur, wife of the deceased property dealer who died after suffering injuries on his private parts in the beating by the accused, said he was the only bread-earner of the family.

Model Town SHO Warryam Singh said the polcie would arrest the remaining accused soon. He said the police had got busy with tracing the murder of the taxi driver.

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Cyclist injured in mishap 
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, April 11
Jasvir Singh of Malak village was injured when his cycle was hit by a jeep being driven by Hardev Singh of the same village. The police has registered a case under Sections 279, 337 and 427 of the IPC against the driver.

One held

Resham Singh of Kotumra village was arrested by the Sidhwan police during patrolling and it seized 6,750 ml of illicit liquor from him. A case under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act has been registered.

5 booked for assault

Gian Kaur of Kamalpura village and Kuldeep Singh of Lamme village along with three unknown persons allegedly assaulted Harpreet Kaur of Kamalpura and fired shots in the air. The local police has registered a case under Sections 336, 323, 294, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC against them. The injured have been admitted to the local Civil Hospital. 

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Four booked for assaulting trader
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 11
The local police has booked four members of a family, including a policeman, under section 342, 323, 506 and 34 of the IPC for allegedly assaulting and threatening a local trader during his illegal confinement in their house in the Amarpura area here on Monday night.

The accused were arrested and released on bail later.

According to an FIR, registered on the statement of Munish Kumar, a mobile phone dealer of the local town, Manjit Singh, a policeman posted at Ludhiana, his brother Karamjit Singh Khatra, Varinder Singh Lucky and Maninder Jit Singh Vicky (both sons of Karamjit Singh) allegedly assaulted him and threatened to eliminate him after illegally detaining him in their house. He was rescued by former councillor Bittu Singla.

Karamjit Khatra, on the other hand, refuted charges levelled against him and other members of his family. Denying the illegal confinement of Munish Kumar, he maintained that the incident occurred when Munish Kumar used provocative language by coming to his house. “Rather my wife Gurdev Kaur got hurt in the scuffle that followed hot exchange of words from both sides,” said Khatra, while talking to the Ludhiana Tribune.

Perusal of records showed that Munish Kumar had sold a mobile phone and a computer cabinet to the Khatra family about five months ago. The trader allowed credit for a few days but the purchaser did not make the payment within the due period.

The Khatra family kept delaying the payment and ultimately called Munish to their house on Monday evening to make the payment. “But the moment I, along with my assistant reached their home, they assaulted me and dragged me inside the house where I was beaten up mercilessly by the family, including Manjit Singh, a wireless operator posted at Ludhiana,” reported Munish to the police.

He was rescued by Bittu Singla after Munish’s assistant informed him about the incident. Munish was admitted to the civil hospital later.

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Rising steel prices give tough time to industry
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 11
Steel consuming industry has rued continual rise in steel prices. Industry representatives apprehend major losses for the industry if the situation is not controlled.

“Large steel manufacturers have not affected any reduction. Rather, increase is continuing for quite a few months now, which has resulted in an increase in input costs for the industry. There is a dire need to control steel prices,” said Badish K. Jindal, general secretary, Wire Drawing Federation of Punjab.

While the price of steel rounds has reached Rs 29,000 per metric tonne, the rate of sponge iron has gone up from Rs 14,000 per tonne to over Rs 17,000 per tonne in a span of less than three months.

Attributing the rising prices to cartelisation, export of steel, high custom duty on imported steel scrap and manipulation by producers, industry rep-resentatives said rates are increasing on a daily basis creating panic among the steel consuming industry.

P.D. Sharma, president, Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry said steel scrap in the international market is mainly procured by Pakistan, Bangladesh and Vietnam as they have reduced the custom duty from 8 per cent to zero.

The steel scrap in the international market is selling at $ 350 per metric tonne.

“If the government of India reduces custom duty from 5 per cent to nil, it would affect a reduction of around Rs 1,000 per tonne, which would give sufficient relief to steel producers and in turn to the remaining steel consuming industry,” he added.

Urging the government to take a serious note of the problem, he said it was important to control prices to save light engineering industry of Punjab, which is already facing recession on account of increasing input costs on one hand and tax benefits to industry in neighbouring states on the other.

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