L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

MC accused of supplying inferior quality manhole lids
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 26
Caring little for the life of people in the city, the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (LMC) is accused of having inferior quality manhole covers even as many lives have been lost in the past in accident involving manholes in the city.

Accusing the local civic body of buying poor quality cemented manhole covers, the leader of the opposition of MC house and BJP councillor, Parveen Bansal, said just a few days after a manhole was covered with a lid in Hargobind Nagar in his ward, the cover had given way and only a frail mesh of iron bars was left.

Showing the cover that he removed from a street in Hargobind Nagar, Bansal said he received a complaint of a damaged cement lid and when he got it removed he found that the cement was coming off without any effort.

"It was all made of sand. It came off when I hit it lightly. This is how the MC is caring for the lives of people, who can fall in manholes after stepping on a weak manhole lid," he said while demanding an inquiry into all manholes purchased by the MC a month ago.

He added that the iron remains weighed 2-3 kg only. "Ideally, a manhole cover should have 12-13 kg of iron if we want to avoid accidents. But this is what is happening."

Bansal has kept the iron remains at his house and said he would take it to the MC chief on a working day.

"I want that an inquiry should be conducted to find out from where these manholes were being purchased and why the MC bought these when they were of inferior quality."

"These are death-holes if not covered properly. Still, the local body has such a lackadaisical attitude towards the life of people. I would demand action against the officials for their negligence which can lead to accidents once it is proved that the quality of covers was not checked before distributing these," said Bansal.

The city has witnessed many accidents owing to open manholes. Recently, a minor girl had fallen inside a similar death-trap and had died. During the last many years, some lives were lost due to open manhole.

The MC has been under fire as far as the manholes is concerned.

A month ago some councillors had alleged that the covers were in short supply in the MC store. Later, the authorities had purchased these. The civic body had switched over to cement and iron covers some years ago when iron lids were found to be stolen by scrap dealers and ragpickers, leaving the manhole open. This had forced the MC to switch over to concrete covers. But with allegations of inferior quality material, it seems the local body would have to taken some stringent steps.



86 pc milk samples fail purity test
Mixed with 10-33 pc water
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 26
The price of milk has skyrocketed in the recent past, but that has not ensured quality to residents as 47 out of 55 samples of milk failed the purity test today. The samples had a high percentage of water in them.

The test is done free of cost at the office in Model Town. Samples of milk, which is not boiled, are tested for best results

At a camp organised by the Dairy Development Department in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, only eight out of 55 samples were pure and the rest were adulterated with as much as 10 to 33 per cent water.

This is not an isolated camp where milk samples had failed the purity tests. A year ago, a similar camp organised in Sarabha Nagar had startled the residents with 80 per cent samples reporting a high urea content.

According to Santosh Singh and Harmesh Singh, inspectors in the department, the milk samples brought by the residents to the camp were mostly bought from milk vendors, who supply milk from door to door.

It was better that in today’s camp no urea content was detected. Many samples had one-third of water. The consistency of the milk samples was so thin that it was even visible to the naked eye.

“We have asked the residents to warn their milk vendors or stop taking milk from them. This will send a message across the vendors that people are aware and they will not tolerate any adulteration,” they added.

Both the officials urged the residents to buy good quality milk and invited them to get the samples tested from the department on a regular basis.

The test is done free of cost at the office in Model Town. Samples of milk, which is not boiled, are tested for best results.

The inspectors said they would give the report to the director of the department and he might direct some action against milk vendors.



Suicide couple had made funeral arrangements
Unhappy with sons, wished old age inmates 
perform their last rites
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 26
The 78-year-old industrialist, Surjit Singh Kalra, and his 40-year-old second wife, Simranpal Kaur, residents of Sant Fateh Singh Nagar, committed suicide after making arrangements of their own cremation instead of leaving the task to their estranged children.

In a suicide note found by the police, they wished the inmates of an old age home, and not their children, should perform their last rites.

While Surjit Singh Kalra had died last evening, his wife Simranpal Kaur died this morning leading the police to book his three sons and two grandsons on the charges of abetment to suicide on the basis of the suicide notes recovered from their house last midnight.

The police said that their suicide note accusing their children of not taking care of their parents was contestable. The booked sons claimed to police they were giving Rs 30,000 per month to their parents to look after them. They also claim the aged industrialist had Rs 55 lakh in his account when they got separated but now had less than Rs 5 lakh.

"I wish people kill their sons in the womb instead of daughters so that they may avoid the suffering and harassment I experienced from my sons," wrote Surjit Singh before consuming poison.

His over 40-year-old wife, died this morning only. She wrote a separate note detailing how she had a bad first marriage.

Surjit Singh even claims one of his sons had bribed a judge to delay the property dispute cases they were fighting in a court.

The couple also made elaborate arrangements of their cremation before committing suicide.

They left newly stitched clothes, money and other things in the house along with the suicide note. They expressed the wish that inmates of the Swami Vivekanand Bridh Ashram here should perform their last rites. The deceased used to donate frequently to the ashram.

SHO Warryam Singh said Surjit Singh had called up one of his two daughters over the phone before consuming poison saying now she would meet him at the creamation ground only. The daughter frantically kept calling over his phone. There was no reply.

SSP R K Jaiswal said on the basis of the note, the police has booked his three sons and two grandsons. All accused were absconding. The couple stated they had sent a copy of the note to police by registered post also.

Those booked for abetment to suicide under section 306 , 148 and 149 were - three sons, Kulbir Singh, Pritpal Singh and Mohinder Singh and two grandons, Paramjit Singh and Parwinder Singh. The sons are prominent cycle-parts manufactures of the city.

While none of the accused could be contacted, some mediators have told SHO Warryam Singh on their behalf that the sons were angry at the father for his second marriage, "They had socially boycotted him."

However, the police said the man suggests in his note that he married 12 years ago to combat loneliness. His sons were living separately and the fact that the 40 year old woman chose to die with him suggests she had no greed of property.

Her young sister , interestingly, has been named the heir of Kalra’s property and bank accounts.

Kalra wanted the people to get to know the contents of the note through the media.

In that he wrote how he got married young and about how he struggled and succeeded in his life. He also mentioned how he helped his sons in setting up their units.

But now when Kalra allegedly needed money, the sons did not help and dragged him to the court. "I kept on requesting the judiciary to speed up the cases but I only got dates.

“One of sons called me few days ago over the phone abusing me and claiming he had paid Rs 50,000 to a judge for extending the case."

The police said they cannot investigate the charges against the judge, as there was no direct or corroborating evidence or suggestion in the suicide note.



Blaze swallows labour colony
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, May 26
Shantinagar- a migrant labourers' colony situated on the Samrala road turned to ashes after it was engulfed in fire the previous night. This very colony has fallen prey to the fire thrice during the past 10 years. As many as 80 families are reported to have become homeless whereas four animals got burned alive. The fire originated from an oil lamp.

The fire started half an hour after midnight on Friday. The lack of fire trucks in the vicinity of the colony meant that the fire raged for two hours before they reached. By that time all had been burnt to the ground.

Apart from the damage to property and food grains, a buffalo, two cows and a goat were also burnt alive in the fire.

Deputy commissioner Ludhiana Sumer Singh Gurgar reached the spot on Saturday morning to take stock of the situation and gave Rs 500 to each family for buying tarpaulins and assured them of appropriate compensation for the burnt articles.

He further directed the electricity board to reinstate power supply to the colony with new electric meters by the evening. Various organisations have extended help to the colony residents.



1 killed as factory wall collapses
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, May26
One labourer was killed on the spot and another seriously injured when the wall of a dying unit of a factory, located in Bhattian village, 4 km from here, collapsed last afternoon.

According to information, the 20 feet wall, which was under construction in the dying unit of the factory, collapsed due to a dust storm, resulting in the death of Vishavjeet Dass (23) on the spot and serious injuries to labourer Sanjeev Sharma (20). The wall was constructed only a month ago and was being plastered when the accident took place.



SAD leaders criticise BJP chief

Khamano, May 26
A meeting of senior leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Khamano, was held yesterday.

The Akali leaders criticised the Punjab BJP chief for his anti-bandh statements. The leaders said his statement was against the interests of Punjab government and scould lead to a rift between the two parties.

They reminded that SAD has extended its support at the Centre to the BJP in 1996 and had never demanded its share but now the Punjab BJP president was making statements that were against the interests of both parties. — OC



City Centre Scam
Chetan Gupta seeks bail
Special public prosecutor transferred
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 26
Chetan Gupta, a Delhi-based businessman, who was arrested in the City Centre Scam case on May 17, has moved a city court seeking bail.

Taking congnisance of his bail plea, the Special Judge Gurbir Singh today issued notice to the Vigilance Bureau for June 2, with the direction to produce the case file on the next date.

Chetan is reported to have close relations with the family of Captain Amarinder Singh. He has submitted that he was unnecessarily dragged into the case to settle political scores with the family friends and associates of Captain Amarinder Singh.

In a commission headed by Justice B.S. Nehra to enquire into the alleged ' Intranet Scam', he had submitted an affidavit to absolve Raninder Singh, son of the former CM. His said the act caused annoyance to the persons, who are now in power with the change of government in the state, says the bail plea.

It has been alleged that one 'e-mail' was also fabricated by the Vigilance Bureau to implicate him falsely in the case.

Meanwhile in a new development, one of the special public prosecutors Ashwani Bedi handling the scam has been transferred to Hoshiarpur. It may be recalled that the director, Prosecution Department, Punjab, has constituted a special team to handle this high-profile case. His transfer has reportedly irked the Vigilance Bureau whose officials are likely to take the matter with their high-ups, claimed sources. 



Scattered iron waste a threat to commuters
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 26
Small spherical iron material, apparently non-recyclable iron scrap, is lying along a stretch of about 5 km on the Ferozepore road between the railway crossing at Baddowal and Badi Haveli near Mullanpur. This seems to be the waste scrap apparently thrown by some people who could not dump it anywhere else, posing a threat to hundreds of commuters.

Area residents, police on patrol and employees of the PWD (B&R) seem to have accepted the situation. They maintain that the practice of throwing waste in the open and in bags was on for the past two-years and nobody bothered to take notice of this problem. The scrap seems to have been thrown at night and that, too, in an intelligent way across 5-6 km of the road so that too much of it does not get accumulated anywhere. As the vehicles move on the road, these particles gather along both sides.

Amarjeet Singh Dakha, a resident of Dakha, said this was a danger to the vehicular traffic, particularly two-wheelers and autorickshaws, which can skid. "During nights, there are more chances of accidents because of darkness and speedy vehicles," he said.

Avtar Singh Meen of Mullanpur Mandi maintained that it was a deliberate attempt by some factory owner, as the waste was thrown in bags and in the open on roadside and in the middle of the road in a scattered manner. "The PCR men on duty are witness to all this. But they say unless an FIR is lodged, they cannot take action against anyone. Many persons can be involved in this practice," he said.

It may be mentioned here that the wide Ferozpore road adds beauty to the city. But unfortunately, marriage palaces have already destroyed it to an extent, and now the waste iron particles on road further aggravate the problem.



2 needy girls in care of CMC hospital
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 26
Continuing its tradition of providing medical treatment to the poor, the CMC Hospital has been treating two girls in its paediatric ward free of cost.

Six-year-old Simranjit, one of the three children of an autorickshaw driver, had been ailing from intermittent fever and significant weight loss for more than a year. Typhoid was diagnosed and treatment for the same was given but in spite of consulting several hospitals, the patient could not get any relief. Then this pale girl was referred to the CMC by the Civil Hospital after a significantly positive TB test and a CT scan later showed left lung abscess.

At the CMC, on learning the precarious condition of the child and the requirement of hospitalisation, the parents refused to do the same because of lack of funds. But the hospital went ahead with the admission.

The child's mother said Dr V.P. Singh, head of the department, told them to leave the sick child with them and take her back once she recovered.

The doctors performed a left lung lobectomy, putting a chest tube to monitor her progress. ATT treatment has also been continued. The girl has shown good signs of recovery and is now on rehabilitation for lung efficiency.

She is expected to be discharged in a few days, her mother said.

In another case, Shamta, 14, was referred to the CMC in a serious condition by the Civil Hospital. She had showed multiple spikes of fever which would not subside, low haemoglobin and negative protein balance.

After tests, she was found to be suffering from liver abscess and about 300 ml of pus was drained out. Post this procedure, she is showing signs of recovery and her body weight is also increasing. She has been advised high protein diet, including five to six eggs everyday, in her meals.

Since both families were unable to meet the medical costs, the hospital has been providing all facilities free of cost till now.



... But this poor brother-sister duo is not so lucky
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 26
Mohan Thakur, a city resident, who is paralysed, is not among the lucky few who can get his ailing children treated without sparing a thought to the costs involved.

He barely manages his daily earnings and is not able to afford treatment of his children, a 3-year-old son and one-and-a-half-year old daughter who are suffering from broncho pneumonia and measles due to malnutrition and infection. Unable to afford, he even had to discontinue the treatment, a step that doctors say could prove fatal.

"The kids are malnutritioned and the overall treatment would costs around 25000 to Rs 30,000. He started the treatment and the hospital gave him concession. A few doctors also came forward to help. But all this help could not cover the entire cost and he discontinued the treatment," said Dr Devendra Singh Baath of Sehat Hospital in Jamalpur.

Doctors say that the kids were in bad condition and the treatment that Thakur availed for short duration helped the survive. "But that is not sufficient. He must get the proper treatment done," said Dr Baath.

For Thakur, however, complete treatment is unaffordable. "I barely manage to walk. Even my wife is paralytic. Earning two meals itself is difficult for us, what to talk of the treatment."

Good Samaritans can contact Dr Baath at 0161-2672188 or 9876615956.



‘Jehar Khurani’ gang: Rly police alerts passengers
Ludhiana declared hyper-sensitive for gang's strike
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 26
With the Indian Railways identifying the Ludhiana railway station as one of the most sensitive places of activities of the infamous "jehar khurani" gang, which loots people after administering them drug-laced eatables, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) is organisinng special educative demonstrations at the platforms itself to help the passengers in saving themselves.

In the first such drive, the RPF chief at Ludhiana, Kulwant Singh, and his team of cops demonstrated how the gangsters fill or lace the drugs and the clever manner in which they befool the gullible passengers.

The drives come in the wake of a special booklet of habitual criminals expert in this trade, released by the Railways last month.

Kulwant Singh and his team showed the passengers, mainly migrant labourers, who are the prime targets, on how the criminals inject drugs in fruits and prepare drug-laced biscuits, ladoos, peras. What surprised many was how the criminals keep a drug-laced glass with them.

They offer the glass to soldiers or other passengers while serving a cold drink or tea. The drug mixes with the drink, rendering the drinker unconscious.

The drive comes in the wake of dozens of such incidents, where many persons, mainly labourers, were looted. Some persons had died due to the overdose of drugs. The victims generally regain consciousness after two or three days.

Kulwant Singh said prevention is always better than cure. "It is not possible for the police to give security to each person in the train from the gang. It becomes pertinent that the passengers remain alert after educating them through such police demonstrations and save themselves and others ."

The drive would be a regular feature and the interested passengers can contact the RPF office at platform number one , he said.



Security up in Sacha Sauda Deras
Deadline for their vacation today
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 26
Apprehending possible reaction by activists of Sikh organisations against the government’s failure to get the deras of the Sacha Sauda sect vacated before the deadline falling tomorrow, the police has intensified security in the three centres situated at Jagera in Payal subdivision, Jalaldiwal in Raikot subdivision and Gahaur in the Ludhiana City area.

Rank and file in the uniformed force have been directed to get the orders promulgated under Section 144 of the CrPC implemented in their respective areas.

Talking to the Ludhiana Tribune after supervising the security arrangements at Dera Sacha Sauda in Jaladiwal near Raikot, Gurpreet Singh Bhular, SSP, Ludhiana (Rural), claimed that all arrangements to protect life and property of members of all sections of society had been completed. Besides deputing special force at sensitive spots, special patrolling squads would vigil the interior in rural and urban areas of the district.

Urging the office-bearers of various social and religious organisations to work for maintaining peace and tranquility in the area, Bhullar claimed that no one would be allowed to disrupt the law and order situation.

"We have been asked to ensure that no one carries any sort of weapon with him during this period. And I have directed my officers to percolate the orders down to the level of constables so that the orders of the CM are obeyed in letter and sprit," said Bhullar.

The security at Dera Sacha Sauda in Jagera, near here, was also beefed up today. Rattan Singh Brar, DSP Payal, supervised the security arrangement at the dera and surrounding areas. He directed Randhir Singh SHO to keep vigil round the clock.

Security arrangements at Naam Charcha Ghar in Gahaur were also reviewed by R. K. Jaiswal, SSP of Luhdiana.

Referring to information received from residents of the area surrounding the dera, Jaiswal claimed that the villagers were satisfied over the role of the police and paramilitary forces deployed in the area. He claimed that the cops had been directed to guard the life and property of all members of society.

Activists and office-bearers of the dera sect, apprehending offensive mood of Sikh activists, had started deserting various deras after SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar reiterated Singh Sahiban's stand to get the Sacha Sauda deras in the state vacated by May 27.

Though the Gahaur and Jalaldiwal deras had been virtually vacated by the premis, the situation was different at the dera in Jagera village. The premis were allowed to visit the dera as usual.

A visit to the dera revealed that a large number of Sacha Sauda activists had been coming to the dera daily.



Makkar given tighter security
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 26
The security of the SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar has been further tightened following the tension between Dera Sacha Sauda and Sikh organisations.

According to official information the Punjab Police have started guarding the residence of Avtar Singh Makkar and more policemen have been added to his personal security cover. There are eight policemen who are providing security cover to Makkar and three vehicles accompany him when he tours the state. The SGPC has also provided eight task force personnel to Avtar Singh Makkar. Out of them five carry firearms.

The Punjab Government has also beefed up the security of the some of the other Sikh leaders in the state.

The Punjab Police have also been directed to keep an eye on the activities of the radical Sikh organisations. Makkar was pulled up by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for his statement three days ago when he said the SGPC does not believe in any law but only the diktat of the Akal Takht. 



3 drug traffickers nabbed
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 26
The Payal police has nabbed three persons, including a proclaimed offender, for allegedly carrying and supplying contraband drugs and narcotics in the area. A rich haul of contraband products has been seized from the accused.

According to Rattan Singh Brar, DSP of Payal, various police teams, acting under the supervision of Randhir Singh, SHO of Payal, had succeeded in identifying members of a notorious gang that had been supplying drugs and narcotics to innocent farmers and students of educational institutes in the area for a long time. All three traffickers were arrested during traps laid down by officials in their respective areas.

Baljinder Singh, son Ajit Singh of Issru village, was arrested and booked under Sections 21, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act from outskirts of Jallah village. As much as 35 grams of smack was recovered from his possession.

Though the accused denied having supplied the contraband to the youth of the area the police suspects that he had been doing so as he was once associated with notorious gang at one time led by Gandhi.

Preliminary investigations have revealed that the suspect used to bring narcotics from Shahbad Markanda in Haryana.

He was arrested by a team led by Balkar Singh ASI.

A police team led by Satwant Singh, SHO of Sihar, seized 600 gram of opium from Mohinder Singh, alias Giani, son of Bhajan Singh of Lapran village, who was waiting for his customers at the T-point near Jhamatt village today.

The accused had been declared PO by the Jandiala police and Raikot police in cases registered under various sections of law. Giani had been shifting his activity for about 12 years to evade arrest by the police.

Jagir Singh, son of Gurmel Singh of Khanpur village in Jalandhar district, was nabbed by SI Amar Nath from Kaddon chowk and 8 kg of poppy husk was seized from his possession.



Beauty contest with a cause
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, May 26
A beauty contest organised by the Krishna Breast Cancer Care Charitable Trust turned out to be unique as the participants were screened for breast cancer.

It was the seventh free of cost breast cancer screening camp held at Nagpal Regency for the members of the Niharika Ladies Club here yesterday.

At the contest various tips for periodic self-examination were given for the early detection and treatment of the deadly disease.

Noted oncologists from the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), including Dr D.S. Sandhu and Dr G.S. Brar, conducted the checkup, along with the supporting staff.

Brar made an interactive and high-tech presentation on the causes of breast cancer and educated women on the self-examination techniques. Sandhu focused on the symptoms and available treatment modalities of the disease.

Members of the club responded enthusiastically to the activities at the camp, as free ECG, blood test and physical examination was conducted on more than 70 women.

Chief cardiologist at Hero DMC Heart Institute Dr G.S. Wander offered heart-related counselling and guided the members on general health care and needed life style changes. Highlight of the camp was a beauty contest, in which all members, dressed in white, showcased the grace and talent.

In the 35-year-old category, the crown went to Navraj Gill and runners-up position was jointly claimed by Sweety and Manjit Gill. In the below 35-year category, the winner was Dolly Takkar with Gagan claiming the runner-up position.

The camp concluded with a vote of thanks and presentation of mementos to the doctors and entire team of the DMCH by the president and secretary of the club, Bala Sehgal and Shaheen Rang, respectively, on behalf of the club members.

The president of the club expressed her gratitude to trustee of the trust Sanjeev Arora, while lauding the efforts put in by the body for creating awareness for breast cancer. The trust creates awareness about the disease by giving lectures, conducting free checkup camps across Punjab and providing medical assistance to the needy.



Sutlej Club summer camp from June 1
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 26
'The Rocking Summer Camp' will be organised at the Sutlej Club from June 1-17. The summer camp will be open to the club members, their spouses and dependents. A fee of Rs 100 will be charged for registration for the camp.

Giving details of the camp, general secretary of the club, Sanjay Arora, said at a press conference that the club members will get an opportunity to learn many things free of cost during the camp. The events and activities to be taught include western dance, music (instrumental), trousseau packing, photography, theatre, cooking and calligraphy etc.



Multi-credit camp organised
Loans worth Rs 7 cr provided
Our Correspondent

Samrala, May 26
The Central Bank of India, Ottalan branch, 3 km from here, has organised a ‘Multi credit camp’ at Shahi Palace, here, today. As many as eight branches participated in this camp.

On the occasion, chief guest Pardeep Kumar, regional manager, Central Bank of India, provided loans to farmers, commission agents and education loan under retail traders about worth Rs 7 crore.

The manager of the Ottalan Bank, Baldev Singh, explained the loan schemes of banks in detail, including central kisan credit card, farm mechanisation, education of rural godowns, house loans etc.

The general secretary of the Punjab Lambardar Union, P.S. Batra appealed to the participants to utilise the loan amount for a genuine purpose for which the loan is taken.

On the occasion, regional manager warned the bank officers not to take bribe. If any complaint was found, a strict action would be taken against the concerned person.



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