L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Dangers of kundi power
2 kids, relative seriously burnt
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 1
Drawing power through a kundi connection proved too costly for a labourer in the EWS colony here when a fire caused allegedly by a short circuit in the illegal connection badly burnt his two minor sons and a son-in-law, besides gutting his one room apartment late this afternoon.

Kuldip Singh, 3, and Lucky, 6, both sons of labourer Kartar Singh, are battling for life at a local hospital after they suffered nearly 90 per cent burns and over 50 per cent burns, respectively.

Kartar Singh’s son-in-law Dilip Singh also suffered 90 per cent burns. Doctors at the hospital said Dilip and Kuldip were in a critical condition.

Kartar’s father Zora Singh had died a few days ago. Dilip had come to express his condolences at the demise of Zora Singh.

Fire department sources said Dilip and the children were sleeping in the room when the fire broke out. Kartar Singh was not in the house at that time. Neighbours tried their best to control the flames, but could not save the children from burns. Two fire engines later doused the flames but the damage was done by that time.



Meanwhile, blatant power thefts continue in SBS Nagar slums
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 1
While city residents are paying for their electricity bills through their nose, slum dwellers of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar are enjoying power free of cost by stealing it. The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) is turning a blind eye to the problem though residents have complained to it on numerous occasions.

The costly power is being stolen by the slum dwellers, who even do the cooking on electric heaters and keep their electrical gadgets switched on throughout the day.

Despite the fact that the area residents have taken up the matter with the authorities concerned a number of times, who make rounds of the area, the jhuggi dwellers continue to draw power illegally, cocking a snook at the authorities.

Taking up the matter once again with chairman of the PSEB, a resident of Housefed flats, Vijay Ajmani, said the jhuggi dwellers had hundreds of kundi connections and were enjoying free power while the residents had to suffer, as the power cables were not able to take that much of load.

A visit to the area revealed that the slum dwellers had put up bamboo poles and connected their own wires to get the electric supply. Almost all jhuggis had television sets, high power music systems, room coolers, refrigerators and many other electric gadgets.

In some jhuggis, electric bulbs were switched on during the broad daylight. Ajmani said they did not bother to switch off the lights as they did not have to pay any bill.

He added that their children could not study as the slum dwellers played music very loudly. “They gather at one place and then watch a movie and indulge in hooliganism. This continues till well past midnight. But nobody is listening,” he said.

Ajmani alleged that the slum dwellers were paying some money on account of electricity drawn to the president of their area, who was greasing the palms of some PSEB employees every month. While the employees were benefiting illegally, the PSEB was suffering losses every month. “That is why despite openly drawing power through kundis, they are let off by the PSEB employees without any action against them. While on the other hand if a resident is caught with some discrepancy in a meter, he is fined heavily,” said Ajmani. 



Architects up in arms against software company
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 1
The Ludhiana Architects’ Association has expressed serious concern over the attitude of the US-based software company Auto Cad for accusing them of using pirated software.

In a statement issued here today, the association said: “It is a matter of great impertinence on the part of the US-based software company for wrongly alleging use of pirated software and thereby bringing disgrace to the architects’ profession”.

The association members told the Tribune here today the price of the software provided by the Auto Cad ranges from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.5 lakh which is quite abnormal and unusually high.

They said no professional would like to install software of Auto Cad when software of other companies in the competitive market is available at the price of Rs 6000 to Rs 7000 only. They said computers were available with free installed software.

The architects said the situation with the old professionals was altogether different who were still working on drawing boards. They said it was impossible for the fresh and new entrants to use and go for such an expensive software. They said an office of a well-established firm equipped with 10 to 15 computers could not afford to spend lakh of rupees.

They observed that the matter should be taken up with the Council of Architecture, a statutory body constituted by the government of India.



Hearing on Chetan's bail plea today
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 1
The bail application filed by Delhi-based businessman, Chetan Gupta, who was arrested in connection with the City Centre Scam, would come for hearing before Special Judge Gurbir Singh on June 2.

He was arrested on May 17 from Delhi. The Vigilance Bureau had claimed to have recovered 'a pen drive' allegedly containing information about black money accounts of several high-profile politicians including former chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh and his family members.

In its bail plea, Gupta had stated that his filing of one affidavit before the commission headed by Justice B S Nehra inquiring into the alleged Intranet Scam had irked the present government. That's why he had been falsely implicated in the case. 



Two men found murdered
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 1
Two persons were reported murdered in the city in the last 24 hours.
Jagdish Kumar, an ice cream vendor was murdered with sharp-edged weapons by unidentified robbers near Jagraon bridge sometime after midnight. It is believed that he was also looted as no money was found in his cash box.

In the second incident, body of an unidentified man was found on a plot owned by Reliance, near Hotel Amaltas, this morning. The face had been burnt in what appeared to be an attempt to disfigure it beyond recognition.

The body was found in a plot where two watchmen of the company were posted for round the clock duty. Police sources said they had no clue about how the body reached here.

SSP R K Jaiswal said police had got some vital clues in both the cases. He said the unidentified man seemed to have been murdered elsewhere and later his body dumped here. He said the vendor's murder would be cracked soon.



Lifer alleges ‘chor’ tattooed on his back
Police asked to book him
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 1
The Central Jail authorities here have asked the city police to register a case against a man convicted under the NDPS Act and undergoing life sentence for falsely accusing another convict and some jail staff of tattooing ‘chor’ on his back.

Jail superintendent Kuldip Singh has recommended the registration of a case of cheating, making false evidence and levelling false allegations against lifer Nirmal Singh, who alleged yesterday that ‘chor’ had been tattooed on his back.

Those named by Nirmal Singh included controversial policeman-turned criminal Gurmeet Singh, alias Pinki, who is also serving life sentence for the murder of Avtar Singh, alias Gola, of Maya Nagar.

A senior jail official told Ludhiana Tribune that Nirmal Singh created a flutter yesterday alleging that Gurmeet Singh and the jail staff beat him up and tattooed the insulting word on his back in the malkhanna at the district courts complex, where they had gone to attend court hearings in their cases.

He complained to the judge hearing his case. Later, he was medically examined at the Civil Hospital at the behest of the the division No. 5 police.

The jail officials, meanwhile, conducted an inquiry into the matter. The jail official said Nirmal and his brother were habitual complainants and had earlier also levelled such allegations. He said both were reprimanded a few
days ago for creating indiscipline in the jail.

He said they levelled allegations against each other in retaliation.

The jail inquiry quoted his barrack mates and others who had gone for the court hearing with them.



Inspector Pinki had killed his son
Father of murdered son honoured in Canada
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 1
When Maya Nagar-based grocery shop owner Amrik Singh took on the might of a strong police lobby to get the cops punished, who murdered his son in January 2001, even his relatives forsook him. His neighbours turned their backs towards him. Witnesses turned hostile and politicians advised him to compromise with the killers of his son.

During the six-year legal battle he was faced with threats, attacks and even attempts to bribe him to take back the case. But the judiciary did finally bring justice to Amrik Singh by sentencing prime accused Gurmeet Singh alias Pinki to a life term. But all this shook his faith in humanity.

But now, after he was honoured by Radio India, Vancouver, several social organisations and gurdwara management committees in Canada, Amrik Singh has finally started saying humanity is not morally dead.

"They live thousands of miles away but understood our pain, acknowledged and recognised our ordeal for justice, while people here, including cops, politicians and relatives ridiculed us for not taking Rs 2 crore offered by the killers. They termed us impractical and people used to make fun that we would never win the case," said Amrik Singh.

Radio India, Vancouver, honoured Amrik Singh at Haveli restaurant in Surrey last Friday. He returned home last evening. Amrik Singh was given a bravery award by Radio India managing director Maninder Singh Gill.

Radio India also honoured Gursewak Singh who helped Amrik Singh out of compassion. Earlier, three gurdwaras in the Canadian province of British Columbia had also honoured him.

Amrik Singh said Gursewak had heard about his struggle for justice over Radio India and he and his friends had given him financial help. Gursewak let him stay in his house during his visit to Canada.

Amrik’s three daughters could not go to Canada due to visa denial but were also honoured at the functions. They had braved all threats with their parents and thwarted many attempts of the accused to break into their house to intimidate them.

Amrik’s son, Avtar Singh alias Gola, was brutally murdered late evening on January 7, 2001, after he had questioned inspector Gurmeet Singh Pinki and his gunmen's right to block a street and drink openly in Maya Nagar.

The Avtar Singh Gola murder case had brought the city to a halt for nearly a week due to vociferous protests in January 2001 against the cold-blooded murder.



Only one unit sends waste for treatment
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 1
After causing much hullabaloo with their claims to stick to the P Ram Committee’s deadline regarding the Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) all that was done today in the name of inaugurating the plant was transportation of untreated water of a unit from Focal Point Phase-VI to Focal Point Phase-VIII where the plant is located.

Even the water that was transported from the unit to the CETP could not be treated as the treatment plant requires much higher quantity to begin 

The possibility of closure, if they do not stick to the deadline which was issued by the P Ram Committee, could only get a limited number of industrial units to act.

As many as 166 members finally signed in today when the plant was given a green signal by PPCB officials. However, even these units would be able to get their water treated only after installing their storage tanks. It is only after that the CETP would begin operation.

"It would take some time for the remaining units to install their storage tanks. After that the contractor would transport the untreated water to the plant, which would then begin operations," said CEO of Ludhiana Effluent Treatment Society, Joginder Kumar.

The CETP has a capacity of treating 33 lakh litres of water on daily basis. With very few number of units becoming its members, so far the estimated amount that would be generated by these units is not more than 1 lakh litres a day.

While officials of PPCB and those of the SPV reiterated that they were hopeful of more units becoming members, the lukewarm response from the industry has clearly been a damper.

The SPV, despite all its efforts, met little success in convincing industrial units to avail its membership is now banking on other industries like bar drawing and wire drawing units to avail membership. "Only yesterday, 31 new applicants came. We are hopeful that more of them would become members gradually."

While the P Ram Committee had asserted that the deadline would not be extended and units that do not get their hazardous waste treated would face closure, the PPCB seems to be taking a lenient view on the issue. "We would wait for a few days at least so that more units can avail membership. A decision on the final action would be taken only after that," a PPCB official told Ludhiana Tribune yesterday.



PSEB staff hold dharna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 1
Demanding the cancellation of the Electricity Act, 2003, employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), on a call given by the Technical Services Union, held a dharna here today.

The members said that outsourcing should be ended.

They said over 15,000 vacancies in the PSEB be filled. 



Free prostheses camp tomorrow
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 1
The Bhagwan Mahavir Sewa Sansthan will hold a camp for the distribution of artificial limbs, crutches and wheel chairs to physically challenged persons free of cost at the Viklang Sahayata Kendra at Rishi Nagar here on June 3. State president of the BJP Rajinder Bhandari will inaugurate the camp while minister for tourism, jails, printing and stationery Hira Singh Gabria will be the chief guest.

According to president of the sansthan Rakesh Jain, the organisation had organised a polio corrective surgery camp here on March 31 in which more than 100 persons were operated upon. He said such welfare activities for the physically challenged and underprivileged persons would continue in future as well.



Bharti to go into financial services
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 1
Bharti AXA is planning to diversify its portfolio from life insurance to offering a range of financial services including general insurance and mutual funds, vice-chairman, Bharti Enterprises, Rakesh Bharti Mittal, said here today. "By the second half of this financial we would come up with more financial services," Mittal said.

The company, a joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and AXA, today launched its life insurance business in Punjab. "We would focus on all categories of customers. Our special insurance plan for farmers so far has covered 50 villages in this belt and we would come up with several such innovative products."

"Apart from the 100-hour training, we are conducting a six-month special programme for our agents.”



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