L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

PAU don living miserably in twilight of his life
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Lalton, Ludhiana, May 10
A retired professor and head of the Department of Horticulture, Punjab Agricultural University, is spending the last days of his life in a miserable condition.

This senior citizen who is drawing Rs 15,000 as pension, is suffering from the agony that his children have abandoned him. 

Dr Satjit Singh Grewal, who is suffering from prostrate cancer, is forced to live in a single room devoid of any facilities that can make his life comfortable.

Besides suffering from pain and constant urinary problem owing to his disease, this senior citizen who is drawing Rs 15,000 as pension, is suffering from the agony that his children have abandoned him.

The retired professor is living in a miserable condition despite a recent Supreme Court ruling safeguarding the care of parents by children and providing scope for punishment, including arrest or fine for those who ill-treat the parents.

Dr Grewal, who has been calling media persons for help, alleged that he was thrown out of his apartment on Phallewal Road by his younger son, when he could not control passing urine.

“I had built that house with three air-conditioners. But now I have to live my life confined to a room that does not have proper cooling system. Despite my earning throughout life, now I am spending life like cattle,” said Dr Grewal.

When a Tribune team reached his house at this village today, he was lying on an old bed in a hot and humid room. His bedsheet was soiled with urine and his room had the pungent stench making it impossible to stand there.

His elder son, who was also in the room and claimed he was an NRI, said that he was looking after his father as his younger brother had shown him the door.

He refused to say anything more and tried to silence his father and asked the Tribune team to leave. He claimed he was looking after his father well but his father was making wild allegations due to his old age. The elderly man, despite his illness, came running, literally begging that he should be moved to a comfortable place.

“I do not want to live here. Please move me to some old age home so that I can spend my remaining days in comfort.” He kept claiming that he was beaten up regularly as he was not able to urinate at a proper place.

When informed about the pitiable condition of the former PAU don, who had reached such heights in his career, SSP R. K. Jaiswal sent an NGO at the house but no solution of the problem was found.

Jaiswal later assured that he would send a senior official and solve the matter with the help of the Lalton village panchayat to the satisfaction and well-being of the professor.



Disabled old man worries for orphaned grandkids
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 10
When people of his age lead a retired life, 72 year old physically disabled Nikka Singh of Maksudaran village, near here, is worried for his two grandsons, who have lost both their parents.

Unable to raise them on his own, the grandfather makes rounds of people, seeking advice for the upbringing of the children.

With tears rolling down his wrinkled face, Nikka Singh said that after the sudden death of his only son in 2005, the family depended on the alms given by villagers or some good Samaritans. Till now, he has been able to get their both ends meet, but now due to one ailment or another, he feels weak and unable to bear the burden.

At Mini-Secretariat here, he came with a hope recently that officials would guide him better or provide him some financial assistance. "I have been told that officials listen to your problems and provide a solution. Seeing the huge rush, I do not think that I will get a chance to meet them even," said a visibly disappointed Nikka Singh.

Telling his tale of woes, Nikka Singh said that his two grandchildren Simar Singh, 13, and Gurmukh Singh, 10, were obedient and cared for him a lot. "In 1997, they lost their mother while the father, the only bread-winner in the family, died in 2005 due to heat failure. I lost my right arm in an accident decades ago and can not work at this age. We manage to eat at a gurdwara in the village. But I am very worried about their future. Nobody is in the family to look after them. They are ready to work anywhere but I am afraid that they are not exploited after my death," said Nikka Singh.

Though he wants the grandchildren to be educated, his dream does not seem to be coming true. Before death, he wants to hand over both his grandchildren to safer hands. "I wish that they are adopted by some orphanage or issueless couples, where their future will be secured and I can die a peaceful death", he said.



Cooking oil prices all set to rise
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 10
Prices of edible oils are all set to rise by another Rs 2 to Rs 3 per litre soon. This spells bad news for householders and those in the food business as cooking oil rates have already witnessed a rise of almost 25 per cent within the last one year.

The rising trend in prices is mainly attributed to the widening gap in demand and supply the world over. The consumption of edible oils for producing bio-diesel is aggravating the problem. In India, where the annual consumption of edible oils is estimated around 12 million tonnes, over 45 per cent of the demand is met by imports.

The rate of cooking oil around a year ago hovered between Rs 45-50 a litre and it has increased to Rs 55-60 per litre now. Apart from shortage in other countries, local production is almost stagnant for the last more than seven years, which is bound to increase the impact in case of prices in India.

With edible oils being an essential part of cooking, consumers are adversely affected as not only do household budgets go haywire, eating out too becomes more expensive.

"On account of shortage prices are bound to increase further very soon," said A.R. Sharma, president, Solvent Extractors Association of India.

To control the widening gap, solvent extractors have been asking the government to take measures in the direction of improving oil seed yield in India. “The demand supply gap is constantly rising. Government policies to have not been very encouraging for local producers, who are already going passing through a tough phase due to very high cost of raw material. There is an urgent need to take measures in the direction so that edible oil rates are not affected,” said Sharma.

While most of the requirement for soybean oil and palm oil is met by Argentina, Brazil, Malaysia and Indonesia, local production concentrates on mustard oil, groundnut oil, sunflower, cotton seed oil and rice bran oil.

Not only has high raw material cost been making this industry uncompetitive, low yield of oilseeds has created problems like under-utilisation of existing capacities. 



This time, 75 MC wards will go to polls
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 10
Now 75 municipal wards will go to the polls in the coming MC elections in the city.

The local bodies department, Punjab, has notified the delimitation and proposed increase in number of wards from 70 to 75. The notification to this effect was issued late last evening.

While the BJP and SAD is broadly happy with the delimitation, there are several swollen faces in the Congress.

Out of a total of 75 wards 34 have been reserved for SC, BC and women candidates. Ward numbers 6, 9, 24, 26, 44, 50 and 60 are reserved for SCs and wards number 1, 4, 10, 13, 16, 19, 22, 25, 28, 31, 34, 37, 40, 46, 49, 52, 55, 61, 64, 67, 70 and 73 have been reserved for women councillors. The 7, 43 and 58 have been reserved for SC women. Ward numbers 65 and 68 are reserved for BCs.

With the department issuing notification, various parties have started organising meetings on deciding candidates for the next elections.

While the BJP and SAD is broadly happy with the delimitation, there are several swollen faces in the Congress. There are certain individuals in the SAD also who are not happy with the new demarcation of the wards.

Congress leaders are alleging that several wards have been reserved for SC and women candidates, which were strongholds of the party. The ruling party wants to win maximum seats by fiddling with the delimitation.

“Earlier my ward was numbered 11. In the proposal, they renumbered it as 10. But as per the new notification, they divided this ward into two. One of the parts is now general and the other is reserved for SC women, ’’ said Asha Rani Garg, councillor from ward number 11.

She alleged that the SAD-BJP combine wanted that she should not contest. “That is why they have done that. I will take some action which I cannot declare now,” added Garg.

A SAD leader and the leader of opposition in MC house, Harbhajan Dang, said they were happy with the entire process. “Now the bugle for elections has been finally sounded out. We are sure of mandate in the house,” he said, adding that there were certain leaders who were not satisfied with this, but then not all individuals could be happy when one wanted to ensure democracy.

BJP leader Parvin Bansal said the BJP men were happy with the delimitation and preparing for the big fight.



8 years on, MC yet to give plots
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 10
Fourteen residents of the city, who were allotted plots for shop-cum-offices in Transport Nagar here eight years ago by the Municipal Corporation, are still awaiting possession of the property.

The MC had auctioned these plots measuring between 110 and 170 square yards on October 30, 1999 and these were finally allotted to 14 residents on November 18, 1999. But despite paying half the price to the MC, these residents were not given the possession.

Having spent lakhs of rupees, the allottees are now left to make rounds of various officials, cursing the day they had decided to bid in the auction. ‘‘We paid the MC lakhs of rupees at that time, thinking that Transport Nagar was a commercially viable area. We did not know we would be harassed so much that we would not get an inch of land,’’ said Amarjeet Singh, an allottee.

‘‘Had we invested our money in some other property in Ludhiana, where the real estate has skyrocketed during the last one decade, we would have made crores from those lakhs. Now we are paying for the MC's lackadaisical attitude. Who is to be blamed?’’ asked Parminder Pal SIngh, another allottee.

Along with other allottees, he presented the case before the commissioner, Vikas Partap, during sangat darshan today and demanded that they should be paid the money back with interest at the rate of 18 per cent.

‘‘Even if you cannot pay us 18 per cent, pay us just 12. We will somehow come to terms with it,’’ said Amarjit Singh repeatedly.

The commissioner said he would take up their case on priority. He added that it had become an issue with the Improvement Trust, the developer of Transport Nagar. ‘‘We are trying to solve the dispute. Still we will try to compensate you,’’ said Partap.

Investigations reveal that the MC had to cut plots by filling the old nullah passing through the area. But the Improvement Trust authorities said the place was earmarked for a green belt and the MC could not earn revenue from it. Still at that time, the MC earned Rs 92 lakh from the auctio. The plots were auctioned at Rs 6,000 per square yard and Rs 11,500 per square yard.



School trustee held for slapping chief
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 10
The controversy surrounding Guru Nanak Public School at Mullanpur took an ugly turn today when one of the trustees Baldev Krishan Arora was booked and arrested for allegedly slapping the Trust president Sanjeev Narula in the presence of SDM Amrit Kaur Gill, other trustees, teachers and students.

The SDM had rushed to the school today at the direction of district magistrate Sumer Singh Gurjar for solving the tussle between the trustees, who had formed two management groups of the school. She re-instated Sanjeev Narula as the trust president after a group led by Baldev Krishan Arora had toppled him and his team from the management.

SDM Gill was miffed at the outrage by Baldev Singh. She called Dakha SHO Balvir Singh to take Baldev Arora in its custody and book for the offence he committed in full public view. The Dakha police arrested him under Sections 107, 151 IPC.

The SDM also authorised the school principal to be a co-signatory for disbursing the salary to the employees. Teaching work in the school had come to a standstill due to the controversial change of management.



Sangat darshan impact 
Block 24 of city included in Zone B
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 10
There is a respite for residents of Block 24 of the city, as their area has been included in the jurisdiction of the Zone B office.

This was a long-pending demand of residents of the area, falling otherwise in Zone B, as residents had to go to the Zone A office to get their works done.

Municipal commissioner Vikas Partap ordered that all office work related to this area should be shifted to the Zone B office. He asked the employees to shift to the Zone B office along with the record pertaining to Block 24.

The order was passed on the insistence of former councillor Pran Nath Bhatia and BJP leader, Dr Subhash Verma during a sangat darshan programme.

The MC redressed grievances of all the 172 complainants during the programme organised in the Zone B of the city.

As many as 55 complaints were related to TS-1 forms, 44 about water and sewerage bills and potable water shortage, 25 regarding challans of Tehbazaari and 48 were related to transfer of ownership of property.

The MC staff, led by MC chief, Vikas Partap, redressed all complaints on the spot. While disposing of the Tehbazaari challans, the commissioner, warned the violators to stick to rules in future.

He also directed the superintending engineer and chief of the MC police to ensure a yellow line for parking of vehicles staring from Baba Thaan Singh Chowk to Samrala Chowk.

The commissioner also directed the superintending engineer to get the patch work on all major roads done besides cleaning all sewers that required attention. He also asked him to ensure that all tubewells were in working order so that the residents do not face any potable water problem.



RSS to celebrate Sukhdev's birth centenary 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana May 10
The local unit of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh will celebrate the birth centenary of Sukhdev on May 15 in all its 90 shakhas across the city.

Besides, a programme would be organised at Kalicharan Chowk, near the ancestral house of Sukhdev in Chaura Bazar, in the evening.

According to Yash Giri, RSS spokesman, the organisation has approached about 20 schools for celebrating the hundredth birth anniversary of Sukhdev. This, the organisation feels, will create awareness about the martyr who belonged to Ludhiana.

Sukhdev, who was hanged along with Bhagat Singh and Rajguru, was born on May 15, 1907 at Nau Garan in Chaura Bazar area.Every year, his birth anniversary and martyrdom day is celebrated at the local level. Even the memorial to be set up in his memory is pending completion. With the RSS joining in to celebrate his birth centenary there is hope that his birthplace would soon be converted into a memorial befitting the great martyr. 



Martyr neglected, laments Naujawan Bharat Sabha
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 10
The current year is the birth centenary year of Shaheed Sukhdev who sacrificed his life along with Shaheed Bhagat Singh.

But so far, no statement has been issued by the government regarding the birth centenary of Shaheed Sukhdev. Even the local administration has showed no such sign although Shaheed Sukhdev was a resident of Ludhiana. His ancestral home is in Mohalla Nau Ghara of Chaura Bazaar.

In a press statement here today, Ajaypal, state convener of the Naujawan Bharat Sabha which was organised in 1926 by Shaheed Sukhdev and his comrades, said a “Shaheed Sukhdev Yadgari Lecture” would be delivered by renowned historian Dr Sewa Singh in Punjabi Bhawan, Ludhiana, on May 13 at 10 am.

Progressive circles, writers, intellectuals and journalists have been requested to join this lecture. Ajaypal has also urged the youth to come forward and join the sabha to realise the dreams of the martyrs. 



Literary drive launched
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 10
Dr Kitchlu Branch of the Bharat Vikas Parishad Ludhiana has started a unique literary drive. Under this programme, the children of Shaiwal high School, Amrit Colony, Panjpeer Road have been involved. The school is being run in the area, which is inhabited by people from economically and educationally backward classes.

Under this programme, the children have been encouraged to study hard. Simultaneously, they have been encouraged to teach their family members, particularly mothers. After about three months a test will be given to the students and the family members taught by them.



Help this patient
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, May 10
Subash, a 30-year-old man, was admitted to Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) here a few days ago with the complaint of high blood pressure, weakness in right side of the body and vomiting.

On examination, he was diagnosed to be suffering from a life-threatening condition. According to doctors, there was a blockage of large blood vessel in his brain, due to which half portion of the brain was not getting proper blood supply. In order to save the life of the patient, neurosurgery was performed. Post-surgery, the patient had to be put on ventilator for about a week and later kept in the critical care unit for several days. He is still under treatment and in need of followup management.

The sole breadwinner of the family, Subash is finding it extremely difficult to arrange funds to pay the pending hospital bills of more than Rs 80,000 and continue the required treatment.

Keeping in view the plight of the poor patient and his dependants, the CMCH management has made an appeal to all Samaritans to come forward and donate whole heartedly to save the life of the poor youth.

All those who wish to contribute towards the treatment of Subash, could contact the medical superintendent of the CMCH in Ludhiana. All donations be made in favour of Christian Medical College and Hospital with “Treatment for Subash” written on the back of the cheque, bank draft or on the covering letter.



3 booked for demanding dowry
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, May 10
On the complaint of Jasbir Kaur of Bharowal Kalan, her husband Jagtar Singh, his father Bikkar Singh and mother Malkit Kaur of Dangon have been booked by the Sidhwan Bet police under section 498-A, 323 and 34 of the IPC.

According to information, the trio were demanding more dowry from Jasbir Kaur and also tortured her for that. She has been admitted to the civil hospital, Sidhwan Bet.

4 held for gambling

The local police has arrested four persons for gambling. Mandeep Singh, alias Bittu, has been arrested from Agwar Gujjran with Rs 125, Rajesh Kumar, alias Raju, from the same area with Rs 150, Kartar Chand from Agwar Gujjran with Rs 105 and Balwinder Singh with Rs 110.

The police has registered a case under section 13, 3 and 67 of the Gambling Act.

Booked for assault

Shar Singh, Inderjit Singh, Gurchati Singh, Harjit Singh, Gurmeet Singh and Gurdev Singh of Leehan allegedly stopped Hardial Singh of their village, threatened him and assaulted him with iron rod, hockey and sticks.

The Humbran police has registered a case under sections 341, 323, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC. The injured has been admitted to the civil hospital, Sidhwan Bet. Some dispute over land is said to be reason behind the attack.

In another incident, Ranjit Singh, Sukhpal Singh, Kuldip Singh, Harjit Singh, Charnjit Singh, Golu and Makhan Singh of Chakar allegedly stopped Sudager Singh of their village, threatened him and assaulted him with gandasi, iron rod and baseball bat.

The local police has registered a case under sections 341, 323, 324, 294, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC.

8 booked

Butta Singh of Gondwal, Harnek Singh and Balwinder Singh of Akhara accompanied with five unknown persons forcibly entered the house of Kirpal Singh at Kamalpura village after breaking its locks and occupied the house illegally.

They also allegedly stole house articles. The local police has registered a case under sections 447, 511, 380, 149 and 120-B of the IPC.

3 held with illicit liquor

Butta Singh, alias Kala, of Johlan was arrested by the Raikot police from the Burj Hari Singh area for carrying 15.938 litres of illicit liquor and a knife. The Raikot police has registered cases under sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act and sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act.

The Raikot police also arrested Ramesh Kumar, alias Messi, of Raikot and recovered 15.188 litres of illicit liquor from him, whereas the local police arrested Manjit Singh, alias Neeta, of Galib Kalan from a railway crossing in Jagraon and recovered 6.180 litres of illicit liquor from him. Cases have been registered.

One held with knife

Jasvir Singh, alias Kaka, of Dakha has been arrested by the local police from the Bhamipura Khurd area for carrying a spring knife.A case under sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act has been registered.



Lady robbed on running train as cops look on
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 10
The security cover given to the passengers by the Railway police on a running train has come under serious scrutiny with a principal of a school being robbed of jewellery, cash and other valuables worth nearly Rs 40,000 in Chhattisgarh Express, near Ambala, on May 4.

Neelambra Sharma, Principal of Sarswati Modern School, was robbed in the presence of two constables of the Railway police standing near the door of the coach in which she was travelling. The cops just shrugged their shoulders, claiming they were helpless as the man had jumped off the train.

The incident took place at about 2 am. She was sleeping on seat no. 44 on way to Delhi, when the accused, apparently waiting for an opportunity, snatched her purse, containing the valuables and jumped off the train.

Though the startled woman raised the alarm as she woke up when the accused had pulled the purse, the cops did not move to catch the criminal.

The train was moving at a slow pace. Neelambra said other passengers prevented her from running after the accused as it could be dangerous to follow them at that hour.

She claimed the cops - constables Jasbir Singh and Ranbir Singh- refused to follow the accused, claiming that they could not leave the coach.

Though the incident took place near Ambala, the FIR was lodged the next day in Delhi. The woman, badly shaken by the snatching, was further harassed due to the dilly-dallying behaviouf of the cops in Delhi.

She told Ludhiana Tribune today on return from the tour that the purse contained a gold chain, earrings, Rs 9000 cash, a mobile phone, ATM card, her driving licence and several other important documents.

She said the accused did not switch off the phone for several hours and answered their calls.

However, later, he called up several persons, whose phone numbers were saved in the mobile phone and abused them. He was apparently drunk.

The principal said she wanted to highlight her plight so that other passengers remain alert even at the dead of the night besides managing the security of their life and property on their own. She said this was important as the cops on security duty were of no help.



Market leaves investors confused
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 10
Unpredictable behaviour of the stock market has left investors here a confused lot. Market experts are now waiting for the Uttar Pradesh assembly election results, which they say, would be a determining factor in the near future.

"Volatility has been there and is likely to continue for some more time. If the results favour the Centre, market would take an upward turn and it would mean profits for the investor community but if people vote against the Congress then those putting their money in stocks might have to face disappointment," said H.S. Sidhu, executive director, Ludhiana Stock Exchange.

While financial experts opine that 'cautious' approach should never leave an investor, risks are not very high if company credentials are taken into account. For the small investor, however, the decision is tough.

"The market in the recent past reacted very sharply to factors like global markets and took a downturn. Prior to that it rose beyond expectations. In the last couple of days, changes have not been very steep but it is only adding to the confusion as market is not assuming any direction," said Varinder Kumar, businessman.

For investors, a wide majority of whom are not able to keep a close track of market, fluctuations create panic. "Market was rising and I thought that instead of selling off my shares I would retain them and book more profits. However, later it suddenly started declining. I sold off a few shares. I am quite unhappy because the trends are changing fast," Kishore Sharma, a private company employee, said.

According to financial advisors, it is the long-term investment in the share market which pays off well.

"Past records have shown that in the long term, capital market has given best returns in comparison to any other form of investment. However, for those gains one has to wait and one has to invest in good companies," said Ashwani Sharma, a financial adviser, adding that most investors, however, are not patient enough and react thoughtlessly.



Arhtiyas form new association
Our Correspondent

Samrala, May 10
To elect the president and office-bearers of the Arhtiya Association, Samrala, elections were held here today. According to the association agenda, issued by the acting association president, Harpal Singh Dhillon, a meeting of arhtiyas, took place under Ram Sarup, chairman of Federation of Arhtiya Association, Punjab.

Dhillon was unanimously elected as the president for the twelfth time. He was given power to appoint office-bearers.

Whereas on the other hand, the other group of the Arhtiya Association, consisting of 27 members held a separate meeting at the office of local market committee under Jagjeewan Singh, Kheernian Sher Singh Mushkabad and Gurmel Singh Kang.

On this occasion Major Singh Gehlewal was elected as the president under the newly formed Sacha Sauda Arhtiya Association.

Vinod Kumar was elected as the senior vice-president, while Satish Khullar as vice-president, Mohan Lal as general secretary, and Gurbax Singh as the secretary.

The newly formed association passed the resolution and copies of the proceedings were delivered to the press.

Citing the reason of the fallout, the Sacha Sauda Arhtiya Association members complained that no account was given to them about the elections and they wanted to change Harpal Singh Dhillon as the president.

The members said they tried their best to elect a new president but their efforts went in vain. They felt that they did not have any option left, so they resorted to form a new association.



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