L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Teachers threaten to boycott exam duties
No arrest yet in professor beating case
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 1
Teachers of various colleges on examination duties at different centres have threatened to boycott their duties from tomorrow if the police fails to arrest the culprits who assaulted Prof Kamal Kishor on April 28 at Arya College.

The teachers alleged that despite an assurance by the SSP yesterday to bring the miscreants to book within 24 hours, nothing had been done so far. They alleged that the police was dilly-dallying in the matter as the main culprit among the four who attacked Professor Kishor had links with political leaders.

A lecturer of SCD Government College, who was put on examination duty at Centre No. II at Arya College, refused to perform duty at the college yesterday fearing danger to his life. He said until and unless the guilty students were arrested and proper security arrangements made, he would not perform duty as centre superintendent.

Prof Jaipal Singh, president, Punjab Government College Teachers Association (PGCTA), and Prof Ashwani Bhalla, general secretary of the Punjab Commerce and Management Association, said teachers would not perform their examination duties if arrests were not made. They said thousands of students would suffer and the university and police authorities would be held responsible for ruining their careers.

Meanwhile, a two-member committee comprising the zonal coordinator and the assistant registrar, Panjab University, Chandigarh, today visited Prof Kamal Kishor at DMCH and also Arya College to know the details of the incident.

Teachers, however, described their visit a mere eyewash. “They had come to procure an FIR copy, the medico-legal report and other clerical stuff, but they did not solve the problem. The Vice-Chancellor should immediately cancel the examination centre of Arya College and further blacklist it for the next five years,” said one of the agitating teachers.

The Arya College Managing Committee, Ludhiana, has issued strict directions to the principal of the college to remain alert so that no such incident occurred in the future. The committee has also assured the Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University, Chandigarh, that there would be no recurrence of such a nasty incident.

Condemning the incident, Sathi Vijay Kumar, president, Arya College Committee, regretted that such an incident had brought disrepute to the college where students were taught that a teacher was worthy to be worshipped.

“We have told the principal to take adequate security measures to ward off such incidents in the future,” he said. A three-member committee has been constituted by the college which will submit its report within a week suggesting measures to be taken for the smooth conduct of examinations in the future and peaceful working in the college, said Sathi.

Expressing solidarity with Professor Kishor, Sathi said the managing committee had decided to bear the medical expenses incurred on the treatment of the injured teacher.



PAU Scientist Complains
Nigerian cyber criminals on the prowl again
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 1
Just three months after the city police busted a multi-billion-dollar internet fraud, infamous as the Nigerian scam or plain "419" fraud, another suspected gang of Nigerian cyber criminals is on the prowl again with a senior scientist of Punjab Agricultural University reporting to the police how his e-mail account was hacked to try to use it for duping his friends.

On the complaint of senior scientist R.K. Goel, a case under section 419 (impersonation) of the IPC and section 66 of the Information Technology Act was today registered at the Sarabha Nagar police station after a prompt police inquiry into the case of cyber crime.

SSP (Ludhiana-Urban) R.K. Jaiswal said the city, having a large number of rich residents, was always on the list of such tricksters. “We are conducting a high-level investigation into this kind of cyber crime and have registered a case to warn the public through the media. The fact that the gangsters are active again is a cause for concern.”

The complainant had informed the police that some persons had hacked his yahoo ID. They sent e-mails in his name to all his friends mentioned in the mailing list saying he (R.K. Goel) was in Nigeria on a tour and was in a big financial trouble. The e-mails sought immediate financial help from the friends.

When the scientist learnt about it from a friend, he found his mail password was changed. Even certain details given to retrieve the password under the "forgot your password" help were also changed.

SP Sukhchain Singh said the police suspected the role of the Nigerian gang due to the word Nigeria mentioned in the e-mails. He said such cyber scams were occurring quite often these days. The motive of such emails was just to entice persons to give their credit card number, which was then easily encashed.

The police would also ask officials of the yahoo.com portal about the security system they were adopting to prevent such hacking.

The city police had in January this year caught two persons in Mumbai, M. Akbar Badshah and Liaqat Khan, whose five accounts had revealed transactions of Rs 40 lakh in three months suggesting how widely they were duping internet users in the country.

Last year, the police had nabbed two Nigerian residents, Prince Ben, alias Anderson, and David, who had duped several city residents in the same manner. Local businessman Vinay Malik had helped the police in busting the gang.

The modus operandi of the gang was to attract credulous internet users by offering money laundering, announcing cash reward or announcing the user as a lottery winner. Later, the target was told the award amount was blocked in the customs for which an amount ranging from $30 onwards was required to be despited in a given bank account. SOS e-mails seeking help like the one sent to R.K. Goel was another major trick in the gang’s armour.

The worldwide alert about the Nigerian scam states the scam has run since the early 1980s’ under successive governments of Nigeria. It is also referred to as advance fee fraud, “419 fraud” and “the Nigerian connection” (mostly in Europe). However, it is usually called plain old “419” even by Nigerians themselves.

The scam operates with the target internet user receiving an unsolicited fax, e-mail, or letter often concerning Nigeria or another African nation containing either a money laundering or other illegal proposal or a legal and legitimate business proposal by normal means. 



Sewerage Scam 
SDO, JE suspended
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 1
The water supply and sewerage board (WSSB) has suspended a junior engineer (JE) and a sub-divisional officer (SDO) after the detection of a scam in the laying of a sewer line under the HUDCO scheme at Karnail Singh Nagar and Passi Nagar on the Pakhowal road here.

The contractor of the work, M/s Munish Brothers, has been debarred from the board forever and he would not be able to apply for any tenders of the board in future. His payments have also been held by the board.

The two officials who have been suspended are Mohan Lal, JE, and Vasdev, SDO.

Superintending engineer (SE) Haravtar Singh said they were in the process of initiating action against an executive engineer also who was supervising the work of laying pipes.

The SE said the executive engineer would be issued a chargesheet soon and his reply would be sought why action should not be taken against him. He added that the chargesheets had been issued to the JE and SDO.

The scam was detected after the intervention of MLA (west) and chief parliamentary secretary Harish Rai Dhanda, who wrote to the board to initiate an inquiry into the case. The SE marked an inquiry to SDE Gurmeet Singh Khosa, SDE Arvind Kumar Mahajan and work supervisor Tilak Raj.

They dug the sewer line at six places and found that concrete was not found in bed and haunches of the line at four places. On the basis of a video footage, action was taken against the two persons.

The inquiry into the entire work under the sewerage scheme, Ludhiana, HUDCO, ward number 40, executed by M/s Munish Brothers, Ludhiana, was ordered on April 23 and the report was submitted on April 25.

Though the action has been initiated, some officials in the board said they were unhappy with the selective action. They said there were many senior officials who accepted “kickbacks” in the work but were let off without taking any action against them.

“Certain junior officials were heard saying that the role of a senior official needed to be checked thoroughly who enjoyed feasts and drinks in a five-star hotel of the city while the work was under progress,” said sources in the board.

The superintending engineer said nobody would escape the ambit of the law and whosoever was found guilty would be brought to book.



Bleak hope for visually impaired couple
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 1
For the visually impaired couple, Surinder Pal and his wife Gagandeep, each passing day diminishes hopes as they struggle to attain employment. After putting in more than seven years at a factory, which got closed a year and a half ago, the couple has been running from pillar to post in hope of seeking help so that they can survive in their extreme poverty.

“We are not looking for help without work. But due to the fact that both of us are visually impaired, earning two square meals a day seems impossible as none is willing to give me or my wife a job. I know packaging and have even undergone vocational training at a blind school. Despite that, I am not getting a job,” said Pal.

He came to Ludhiana from Bihar 10 years ago, where he took vocational training and later found a job. Life would be better, he had thought, and it did get better as he became financially independent. “I had a job so I was not dependent on anyone. But now I feel helpless.”

Sorrow is visible on the couple's face, who managed survival so far as they sold off their belongings and took debt.

His stint at work is the period he remembers fondly. All those years, with the help of his stick, he would go to the factory, which had become another home to him. But the closure came as a rude shock and life came to a sudden halt.

He got married around the time the factory was shut down. Since then his wife Gagandeep had been sharing the daily struggle.

The thought of the past brought him to tears. “When I was independent, I started thinking that despite my disability I would be able to lead life respectably without being a burden on anyone. But now with each passing day there is worry as to whether we will be able to survive or not.”

He ruled out the possibility of going back to Bihar, saying there was no job back home too.

To put forth his case, he recently met SAD acting chief Sukhbir Badal. “I was directed to the deputy commissioner from where my application went to the labour commissioner. But nothing concrete has come out of it. There are several jobs like those of announcers. However, I am told by officials that hundreds are in the queue.”



Cong leaders aided VAT fraud: Sahni
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 1
Chief parliamentary secretary for excise and taxation and senior BJP leader Jagdish Sahni has charged Congress functionaries and the previous government with aiding and abetting the VAT fraud worth several crores. He alleged that senior Congress leaders in the outgoing government had siphoned off huge amounts of money in the auction of liquor vends.

During a private visit to the city yesterday, Sahni claimed that the new excise policy introduced by the SAD-BJP government had yielded an additional revenue of Rs 141 crore to the state exchequer.

Pointing a finger at a Congress leader and industrialist Ashwani Sekhri, who had lost to him in the assembly elections from the Batala segment, Sahni alleged that Sekhri’s involvement in a multi-crore VAT scandal had come to the knowledge of the excise and taxation department, which was being probed further.



Fight social evils, religious bodies urged
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 1
Concerned over the alleged decline in values among Sikh youth, Amarjit Singh Chawla, patron the Sikh Students Federation ( Mehta), has urged social and religious organisations of the area to join hands and launch a crusade against social evils, including addiction.

He was speaking at the closing ceremony of the martyrdom day celebrations of Peer Bhudhu Shah, organised jointly by the local unit of the Sikh Students Federation (Mehta) and the Peer Bhudhu Shah Sewa Society here yesterday.

Addressing the gathering at Gurdwara Singh Sabha, Chawla said a section of Punjabi youth had deviated from the teachings of Sikh Gurus. “What causes concern is that a majority of the Sikh youth have started hesitating in adopting the lifestyle propagated by our Gurus. Instead, they feel proud in adopting the western culture,” said Chawla, adding that this had led to many social evils, including addiction.

He called upon leaders of various social and religious organisations to join hands and launch a crusade against these evils.

The organisers felicitated Chawla for his contribution to social reforms in society.

Kuldip Singh Karwal, general secretary, SAD, Ajit Singh Walia, president, Gurdwara Management Committee, Paramjit Singh, president, SSF, Major Singh, Jagdev Singh Ghaloti, Amar Singh Saraon and Daljit Singh also spoke on the occasion. 



Seminar on female foeticide tomorrow
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 1
The Punjab State Legal Services Authority and Sri Guru Nanak Dev Homeopathic College will jointly organise a state-level seminar on female foeticide on the college campus here on May 3.

The Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Justice Vijinder Jain, will preside over the seminar.

District and sessions judge Harbans Lal today convened a meeting of the heads of the departments concerned to review the arrangements being made for the seminar.

According to the district and sessions judge, Justice Mehtab Singh Gill of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, who is also the executive chairman of the Punjab State Legal Services Authority, and Bikram Singh, minister for information and public relations, water supply and sanitation, Punjab, will also participate in the seminar. 



Police sets up helpline on drugs 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 1
With the menace of drugs leading many to commit crime apart from ruining the future generations, the police has finally given the much-needed attention to the issue by announcing a round-the-clock helpline to receive information about the drug use, smuggling and related complaints.

DIG Ishwar Singh said six police officials, including him, would be answering calls on the helpline numbers. The main helpline numbers would be 98158-00229 and 0161-506300.

The identity of all the callers would be kept confidential and the helpline especially the landline numbers would be open round the clock.

Apart from the main helpline numbers, information can also be sent to the following officers:

Ishwar Singh, DIG, Ludhiana range - 2414992, 2414903, 98761-67900, [email protected].

R.K. Jaiswal, SSP, Ludhiana (urban) - 2414904, 2414927, 98158-00402, [email protected].

Gurpreet Singh, SP, Detective -- 2414913, 2551515, 98158-00405.

Jatinder Singh, DSP, Detective, Ludhiana -- 2420800, 98767-00709.

Inspector Davinder Singh of Narcotic Control Cell -- 98723-77977.

S.I. Rajesh Kumar -- 98 158-00467



Rallies, protests mark Labour Day
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, May 1
Employees of various organisations and factories today held meetings and rallies on the occasion of International Labour Day.

Addressing a rally of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) at Jamalpur, state general secretary Raghunath Singh said, “Although we are observing the 121st anniversary of Labour Day, it is unfortunate that workers in factories have to work for much more than the scheduled number of hours. Even today, factory workers in Ludhiana are struggling to get their basic right of eight-hour daily work.”

He said a large number of factories were openly violating labour laws. District president of the union Jatinder Pal Singh said workers would not give up their struggle for their rights, while general secretary Jagdish Chand raised the issue of minimum wages which, he said, were much lower in comparison to other states.

The union said it would intensify its struggle to get workers their due.

Addressing a rally of the All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Joginder Dayal, executive of the CPI, criticised the economic policies of the previous government. He said the UPA government was following similar policies and failed to take concrete measures towards improving the condition of the working class.

Members of the Punjab Roadways Employees Union held a gate rally outside the roadways workshop.

Members of the Conductors Union, the Workshop Union and the Karamchari Dal also participated in the rally. The employees resolved to intensify their struggle for workers’ rights.

The Shaheed Bhagat Singh Mazdoor Union, Lok Ekta Sangathan, the Hosiery Workers Union and several other unions also participated in the congregation that was held outside the labour office here.

Malkit Singh Bagga, the working president of the Labour Vikas Party, while addressing a meeting on the occasion, emphasised that the government needed to frame policies that favoured the economically weaker sections of society.

Employee unions of the municipal corporation organised a function to mark Labour Day.

Jagraon: Members of different unions, including the Trade Union, the Kisan Sabha, the Labour Union and the Workers Union observed Labour Day today under the banner of the Trade Union Council, Jagraon.

Tributes were paid to Chicago martyrs.

Mandi Ahmedgarh: Paying tributes to the Chicago martyrs, leaders of various trade unions and labour welfare organisations said workers were being exploited and deprived of their rights. Accusing successive governments of supporting upper classes, the leaders called upon the workers to join hands against such forces.

The activists organised a protest march through Railway Road, Chaura Bazar, Mahavir Road, Galla Mandi and Gandhi Chowk before concluding at Bhagat Singh Chowk.



Office-bearers elected
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 1
The following have been elected office-bearers of the Jagraon Bridge Dealers Association: chairman — K.S. Budhiraja; president— D.J. Jain; secretary — Harpreet Singh; and convener — J.N. Dhir.



Exchange rate fluctuations bad: Chamber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 1
The Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry yesterday said the exchange rate in imbroglio had hit the industry, particularly the small and medium enterprises.

"Exports have been hit very hard. The entire chain of manufacturing has been effected," said P.D. Sharma, president of the chamber.

Due to appreciation, import had become cheaper but this had not helped the SME sector, he said. "Small units are not able to import directly in quantities where price can be less. Large units and traders who import in huge quality keep the margin to themselves and smaller units who are the user do not get the benefit. Thus the benefit of lower prices passes through the economy without any impact."

The chamber also said that most of the trade operations these days took place through cartelisation. " RBI has evolved monetary policy keeping in view the inflation.

This policy has resulted in the increase of bank interest rates and liquidity squeeze. The manufacturing cost of goods has thus become higher. So it is difficult to compete with our main competitor China. Manufacturing has slowed down considerably due to slow down on exports.

Many exporters have lost very heavily due to appreciation of the rupees. Some of these may not recover with loss and many may be doomed. This will have perverse effect on the chain of manufacturers. "

Sharma added that exporters were not procuring further orders due to uncertainty. The supplier of goods to the exporters are thus empty handed so far as orders for supply of goods are concerned.

The Reserve bank of India (RBI) and the government should take measures to correct the course of exchange management, the chamber stated.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |