L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Serial killer scare
Morning walkers stay in
Jupinderjit Singh and Vijay Bansal
Tribune News Service

Jagraon, April 23
Morning walkers are shying away from venturing out of their houses due to the scare of the serial killer even as the newly appointed SSP of Ludhiana- Rural police district (earlier called Jagraon police district) Gurpreet Singh Bhullar announced that nabbing the serial killer at the earliest was his priority.

At the customary meeting with mediapersons after taking over as the first SSP of the newly notified district, Gurpreet Singh Bhullar hoped his experience in nabbing notorious serial killer Darbara Singh in Jalandhar would prove handy in nabbing the alleged killer, active in Jagraon and surrounding areas.

Bhullar, as SSP Jalandhar, was instrumental in nabbing Darbara Singh. He said he had formed a special plan, which could not be divulged at this juncture. In order to boost public's sense of security, policemen would be deployed at strategic points in the area.

He was responding to the concern shown by local reporters about the increasing panic among the area residents due to the continuous strikes by the serial killer.

Local mediapersons informed that people were not going out for morning walk along the railway tracks, as the killer was allegedly active near the tracks only.

Vijay, a local resident, told Ludhiana Tribune that he used to go for a walk in the morning, but since the exploits of the killer, he is not going out. "I used to walk along the tracks up to the railway station daily. Sadly, the killer has made most of the kills in that area only."

Ramesh Katyal , another area resident, said his favourite time of going for a walk from 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. had been hampered by the activities of the serial killer. "We all are quite fear-stricken by the six murders. The fact that he is at large and had killed the sixth person despite the police and public vigil have added to our fear psychosis.”

Though the panic is all-pervasive, roads or paths of morning walkers are not completely deserted. Some people are still venturing out, but with sticks in their hands. They are also preferring to walk in groups.

While talking to Ludhiana Tribune about his other priorities, Bhullar said that crime prevention and curbing of social evils, including drug-addiction and human rights violation, would get priority over administrative functioning.

“Though organised meetings were yet to be scheduled, I have told my men to prepare draft plans for dealing with pending cases. We will constitute special investigating teams and provide them updated procedural knowledge to solve all pending cases,” he said.

The SSP said fine tuning the work of the women’s cell was also one of his key interests. “Major crime takes place over small disputes only. If those are handled with care and sensitivity at the outset only, many ugly incidents can be prevented.”

He revealed that the women cell, headed by Gurjit Singh Rommana SP, (HQ), received 135 applications with regard to matrimonial disputes within the last three months. Out of those, 27 families had buried the hatchet and started living together, 21 mutually agreed for divorce, 16 preferred to seek divorce in the courts.

Twenty-two applications were filed since those required no action and some cases after investigation were registered under Sections 406 and 498-A of the IPC. Rommana appealed to the people to settle small disputes at their home so that these do not take ugly turn. 

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Surprise checks at PU evaluation centres
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana April 23
With a number of complaints pouring in regarding the evaluation process, Panjab University, Chandigarh, is conducting surprise checks at evaluation centres.

Recently, a committee headed by the Dean, Academics, visited a local college to see whether evaluation of answersheets was being conducted as per the norms.

Sources at the university added that the credibility of the evaluation process was at stake these days. Earlier, examiners were given 100 papers to check in six days. They examined the answersheets thoroughly before giving the final numbers. But now, everything was time-bound and some examiners were even asked to check about 60 answersheets in a single day.

An evaluating examiner, on the condition of anonymity, disclosed that each examiner was given three hours to check 20 answersheets but certain examiners, in order to finish their work early, checked the sheets in less than two hours. "If students are not satisfied with the numbers, they will go for re-evaluation and the results of many students will be declared later. Evaluation is a sacred and important duty, it needs a focussed attention and the paper-checker must understand this," he said.

Tarsem Bahia, a Senate and Syndicate member, said many complaints regarding the evaluation process were pending with the university. He said since the careers of lakhs of students was involved, the evaluation process must be streamlined and focussed.

“Though on-the-spot evaluation system has its own advantages, the examiners need to perform their duties religiously. Students must not unduly benefit or suffer because of the callousness of an examiner,” he said.

Confirming the recent surprise visit, B.D.Budhiraja, Dean, Academics, PU, Chandigarh, said they had visited SCD Government College on April 22 to monitor whether everything was being done in a smooth manner. On being asked if the university had received any complaint regarding the evaluation process, Budhiraja said there were minor complaints. 

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GADVASU is one-year old
Vet varsity to focus on livestock: VC
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana April 23
The Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University completed one year of its existence on April 21. The university was set up after much resistance by a section of teachers and scientists from its parent institute, Punjab Agricultural University.

According to Vice-Chancellor V. K. Taneja, the university has a long way to go.

However, he asserted, the university had started with confidence and tried to come up to the expectations of the people, particularly the farmers. He pointed out that the setting up of the university assumed extra importance as livestock farming contributed 17 per cent towards the economy against 30 per cent from agriculture.

He said the relative contribution of livestock during the past 20 years to the Net State Domestic Product had increased from 37 to 42 per cent while that of agriculture had declined from 63 to 58 per cent.

He spelt out, "Our mission now is to enhance productivity and profitability from dairy, poultry and fish farming through technological interventions of improved germplasm, feed and feeding practices, diagnostics and vaccines, post harvest management and value addition to livestock products and producing and training quality manpower. Food safety, quality, environment and animal welfare are the other major concerns to be addressed."

He said the university had managed to get development grants from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, the Department of Science and Technology and Ministry of Food Processing, Government of India. The Punjab Government had increased the grant-in-aid from Rs 10 crore in 2005-06 to Rs 16.32 crore in 2006-07. A large development grant of Rs.7.28 crore was received from the ICAR. In addition, the Punjab Dairy Development Board released Rs 2.50 crore for strengthening the Embryo Transfer Technology Project to improve the productivity of dairy animals in the state.

Additional funds had been used to improve teaching and research and library facilities for imparting quality education to students. Clinical services had been strengthened to provide improved and efficient veterinary care. These efforts have resulted in a four or five times increase in the indoor and outdoor patients in the university veterinary clinics.

In order to cope up with the increased number of cases, working hours of the Clinical Services Complex had been extended. Efforts were being made to get more funds from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research for the establishment of Krishi Vigyan Kendras.

The facilities available at the livestock farms and milk and meat processing laboratories were being modernised and strengthened.

The training programmes for the farmers and Field Officers of the State Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development and Fisheries have been modified to incorporate new technologies and practices. The university successfully organised two state-level Pashu Palan Melas and one Dairy Show.

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Govts fail to pay diver his dues
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 23
Two successive governments have come and gone, but the struggle of a diver, who helped the administration in fishing out several bodies and was subsequently promised employment as a reward, continues unabated.

Satyan Sahni, a diver, who has fished out several bodies during the past one decade, has grown an old man, running from pillar to post to get his due, but he has always been shown the door.

With the new government taking over, his hopes have once again been rekindled. He knocked at the doors of local MLA and jails, printing and stationery minister Hira Singh Gabria, who has, in turn, forwarded his case to the deputy commissioner.

He was not alone when the announcement was made. He was accompanied by Rudal Mahato, Umesh Sahani and Mrityunjay Sahani, three other divers. The rest have given up but Satyan, who is an asthmatic, is left to slug it out in the corridors of babudom, taking up their matter also.

Sahni and his aides’ skill was acknowledged by the local administration in 1998 when two well- diggers were buried under a well that had caved in. Despite launching a massive rescue operation, the government machinery had failed to recover the well-diggers for two days.

Disappointed with the unsuccessful operation, angry residents staged a dharna by laying siege on a highway. Then these well-diggers were summoned and they recovered bodies. They were in fact the heroes of the day.

In the heat of the moment, the district officials had announced that they would be given Rs 50,000 each as cash award and would be employed in the municipal corporation, as divers were required by the police and administration at several places.

They were honoured on the occasion of Independence Day that very year and given away trophies and a commendation certificate. The cash award and the job promised is yet to be realised even after nine years.

However, they were summoned several times by the local authorities to fish out several bodies even later. But without being paid anything. The innocent divers kept on answering their calls, thinking they were undergoing yet another test. Last year also, stinking bodies were fished out by these people from Buddha Nullah. Nobody, including police employees, were ready to touch the badly decomposed bodies when these people had jumped into the nullah and helped the police.

Despite waiting for so many years, their due eludes them. Their plight has also been carried in The Tribune several times. Even minister of chemicals and fertilisers Ram Vilas Paswan had come to their aid and shot off a letter to the local bodies minister to absorb them in the MC. Even after a year, the letter has no effect.

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City couple dies in mishap

Ludhiana, April 23
A 28-year-old man and his pregnant wife belonging to Janta Nagar, Ludhiana, died in a road accident near Dhatt village, 4 km from Mullanpur Dakha, in a head-on collision with a Tata Sumo. They had got married six months ago.

Their aunt Vijay Rani (56) and her granddaughter Heena (13) were seriously injured. They had gone to Kot Isse Khan village in a Maruti car to distribute marriage invitation cards among relatives.

All four persons, including a woman travelling in the Sumo escaped with minor injuries. — TNS

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Govt targeting Cong sarpanches: Khangura
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 23
The Qila Raipur MLA, Jassi Khangura, today alleged that the Akali-BJP government in the state had started selectively targeting sarpanchs of the area who were associated with the Congress. He said had the sarpanchs not approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which ordered the stopping of their intimidation, the government at the alleged behest of the former area MLA, Jagdish Singh Garcha, would have continued to intimidate, victimise and terrorise the people who did not support him.

Addressing a press conference here today, Khangura alleged that one of the first acts of the new Akali government was to endeavour to stop development work in villages.The order of the Special Secretary Planning dated March 1, 2007 said that all utilisation of funds sanctioned under the Punjab Nirman Programme and United Funds be stopped immediately and all funds which were not utilised be returned.

He alleged the district development and panchayat officer, Ludhiana, and the block development officers of Dehlon and Pakhowal misused this order to selectively harass Congress sarpanches in halqa Qila Raipur.

“Moreover,” he claimed, “under extreme political pressure from Jagdish Singh Garcha, former MLA, they attempted to forcibly extract the records maintained by the sarpanches, even threatened to use brute police force if required.”

He disclosed that pursuant to the writ petition numbers 5394 and 5395 of 2007 the Punjab and Haryana High Court by its order dated April 16 has stayed the order of the Special Secretary Planning as well as the BDOs from harassing the sarpanches.

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Bhandari’s elevation as BJP chief hailed

Ludhiana, April 23
Members of the Punjab Commerce and Management Association (PCMA) comprising faculty members of commerce and management working in different colleges of Punjab congratulated Prof Rajinder Bhandari, senior faculty member in the Commerce Department of Arya College, Ludhiana, as he was elevated to the post of state chief, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

PCMA executive members and office-bearers comprising the president, general secretary, joint secretaries, district secretaries and regional coordinators expressed happiness over Bhandari’s promotion. They appreciated the services of Bhandari as a member of the Senate, Syndicate, member of faculty of commerce and board of studies in commerce, Panjab University, Chandigarh.

In a press release, the PCMA applauded his efforts to streamline the course curriculum of B.Com and M.Com and present positive suggestions for the improvement of commerce and management education in the colleges of PU.

Members said Professor Bhandari had proved to be a pillar of commerce education in the region and worked hard for its uplift. — TNS

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Overbridge at Doraha bus stand sought
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, April 23
The Youth Forum of Doraha submitted a memorandum to the deputy commissioner of Ludhiana today, stating that an overbridge or a subway was urgently required at the bus stand of Doraha. It said many mishaps occurred in the area, killing and injuring pedestrians.

Jandeep Kaushal, chairman of the forum, said this issued had been raised several times with the National Highway Authority of India, but to no avail. Due to the absence of any overbridge or subway, a number of accidents occurred.

“There is no zebra crossing even. To make matters worse, no traffic policeman is deployed at the place. With buses coming from the main flyover and stopping on the road, crossing the road is a hazardous job.

The buses that come from the Khanna-Gobindgarh side too halt on the NH, thus creating problems for the pedestrians. There is little space for the huge number of residents, including students and servicemen, to cross the road. Small children and aged people find it very difficult to reach the other side without support, said Kaushal.

This social worker along with other members, including Mudit Mohindra, Anil Bhanot, Gagan Bector, Rajinder Sharma, Anrej Ali, Barjinder Jandu, Robby Anand, Khushwant Singh, Khushal Jaggi and representatives of the Brahman Sabha, Dashmesh Charitable Sabha, All-India Traders Association and Kariyana Merchants Association have submitted a memorandum to the DC to look into the matter and find a solution to this problem.

They said every month they were paying nearly Rs 1.50 lakh in the form of monthly vehicle passes, but the facilities provided were not satisfactory.

The residents threatened to hold a demonstration against the negligible facilities being accorded if their demand for a flyover or a subway was not met soon. They further demanded a zebra crossing or deployment of traffic police personell till their demand was met.

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Political interference in varsities condemned
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, April 23
The general body meeting of the Peoples Awareness Forum, an NGO, today strongly condemned political interference in the working of the universities and other seats of higher learning. The meeting called upon political leaders to stop playing with the autonomy of seats of higher learning.

The meeting of the forum was held with Prof Prithipal Singh Kapoor, former pro-vice-chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, and president of the forum. The meeting condemned the exit of ex- vice-chancellor of the PAU Dr K.S. Aulakh in this regard.

The meeting said that political parties make false promises and dupe voters by every possible means before elections. It was of the view that once a new government takes charge, vindictiveness sets in and bureaucracy is tamed and disciplined according to the new requirements. People receive no relief and the governance is the worst-hit. Governance is a continuous process which must not be jeopardised with the change of government. It was high time that the new government turned to serious governance, the members said.

They expressed hope that Ludhiana would have better days with the decision of the Chief Minister to himself preside over the meeting of the District Planning Board.

The members expressed their serious concern over the deteriorating condition of civic facilities and poor infrastructure.

The forum called upon the state government to set up a 2000-mw gas- based power plant at Doraha to meet the power needs of Ludhiana, which provided the maximum revenue to the state exchequer by all accounts. Further it was urged that a ring road should be provided to the city to decongest traffic.

The authorities were assailed for their the mushrooming of slums with the patronage of politicians.

The forum expressed great shock over the human trafficking issue.

The meeting condoled the demise of parents of Prof D.S.Panny and mother of Sarbjeet Singh and observed two- minute silence to pay respect to the departed souls.

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Social Security Dept to raise pension
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 23
Swarna Ram, minister for technical education, industrial training and social security, Punjab, has said that the Social Security Department has proposed to enhance the rate of all pensions under different schemes of the department from Rs 250 to Rs 400 per month. The proposal has been sent to the government for approval.

The minister added that in future each woman above the age of 60 and every man above the age of 65 would get pension without any condition of income.

He was addressing an informal gathering of officials during a surprise checking of the Government Institute for Blind at Jamalpur here today.

He said he would write to the secretary, Social Security, Punjab, regarding the shortcomings noticed in the institute during the inspection and said that all problems being faced by the blind students in the institute would be sorted out at the earliest.

He said that the payment of the pensions up to February 2007 have been made and the remaining would be cleared after the passing of the Budget of the state. The minister said that the government was fully committed to revamp the technical education system in the state to make it relevant to the needs of the fast-advancing technology in the industrial sector, so that trained youths in the technical institutions could capture their share from the enormous job opportunities created at the global level.

The minister said that officers of the department had been told to improve the quality of services in all Homes being run by the department for the disabled children. 

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Leaders must be role models of Sikhism: Badungar
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 23
Absolving Sikh youth from deviating from gurmat and falling prey to the menace of addiction, Prof Karnail Singh Badungar, former president of the SGPC, claimed that the situation could not be improved till religious, social and political leaders presented a role model by doing what they preached.

He called upon the office-bearers of various religious organisations to join hands and launch a move against the political leaders who had been trying to subvert communal harmony by exploiting the sentiments of innocent members of various sects.

While talking to the Ludhiana Tribune after addressing a gathering on the occasion of birth anniversary celebration of Dhanna Bhagat and Sheikh Farid at Gurdwara Singh Sabha here, Professor Badungar alleged that some leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, had been issuing statements harmful to communal harmony in the nation in general and Punjab in particular.

"I was pained to learn that a responsible person like Dr Manmohan Singh can succumb to pressure of political leaders in his party and issue a statement that could eclipse the sanctity of supreme religions of the world. But we, as an organised force, will not let any religion, including Hinduism, Christianity and Islam, degraded on sacred land of the country," said Badunagr. He claimed that the genesis of a majority of religions in the world lay in atrocities committed by rulers of respective regions.

Badungar claimed that Sikhism was a complete revolutionary philosophy that provided ideal guidance in social, economic and constitutional spheres, besides quenching religious thirst. "Unfortunately, deliberate manipulation by some persons with vested interests and ignorance of common people raised controversies at some occasions. But certainly it has been felicitating the elimination of socials evils and hence cannot separated from politics, the pillar of civil administration," argued Professor Badungar.

Stating that a majority of religious and political leaders had failed to present a role model before the youth, Badungar called upon them to bring parity between their claims and deeds.

"Instead of blaming the youth for deviation from values and norms we should mend our lifestyle," urged Professor Badungar. 

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Tributes paid to freedom fighter
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 23
Rich tributes were paid to the INA freedom fighter, Amar Singh who died at his native village Dhaler near, here, today. Body of the deceased was cremated with the state honour.

Recollecting his contribution, various dignitaries, including Jaspal Singh Jassie, the SDM of Malerkotla and Mukesh Sharma, the executive magistrate, said he had dedicated his life to the downtrodden and members of weaker section. “Whenever he visited our offices he impressed upon officials to expedite processing of pensions and other benefit cases relating to the residents of his village and surrounding areas," added Sharma.

Though a large number of officials and leaders came to pay floral tribute to the patriot, his son Lakhvir Singh could not join last rites as he had recently gone to Doha Qatar, in search of livelihood. Nirbhai Singh, the member of Planning Board, Harjinder Singh, the chairman of Market Committee, Sukhdev Singh, the SHO City presented wreaths. 

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LSE to give training in commodity trading
Shveta Pathak

Ludhiana, April 23
In a bid to provide trained manpower to the rapidly growing commodity market in the country, the Ludhiana Stock Exchange (LSE) would soon start courses in association with the Multi-Commodity Exchange (MCX).

With this, the LSE would become the first stock exchange in the country to provide training in commodities. "Commodity trading, which is currently over $ 850 billion, is rising rapidly. However, this industry is facing an acute manpower shortage and we expect to not only provide trained people in business but also tap the latent potential in this field," said an official.

The programmes lined up would be short term, certified by the MCX and would begin within two weeks. While one of the programmes would impart basic knowledge, another would deal in sector specific commodities. The stock exchange, which is currently providing training in stock market also, would expand its base of training programmes with the launch of these courses. LSE is targeting students, brokers and investors for these courses.

Sources said in the coming days, the MCX is expected to make training in commodities mandatory for those engaged in the business.

While commodity trading in the country started some four years ago, the region started off in 2005 and trading was expected to touch Rs 100 crore in short time.

However, despite being an agrarian economy, trading volumes in commodities in this region remained below expectation, hovering around Rs 70-80 crore.

Experts attribute the relatively low response to the absence of awareness among potential participants. Apart from farmers, it is traders, importers and exporters who are expected to trade in a big way in commodities.

However, in Punjab, commodity trading failed to pick up the way it did in the case of other states. The state lags far behind other states in this trading and participation is low, a factor attributed to low awareness levels.

"In case of Punjab, importers and exporters in particular have stayed away from commodity trading. Proper training in this field is expected to tap that segment as well and result in an increase in volumes."

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Industry hails move on subsidy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 23
The Federation of Punjab Small Industries Associations today hailed the announcement related to pending capital subsidy by the Punjab Government.

President of the federation V.P Chopra said in a press note issued here that the announcement had created a sense of confidence in the industrial sector in the state.

"The new government's announcement that pending capital subsidy sanctioned under various industrial policies would be disbursed before the end of this month has created a sense of confidence among industry. It is also in the larger interest of economy as the industry is already passing through a period of deep crisis."

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