L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



In city to join investigations in scam
Cold welcome for Amarinder’s kin
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 10
They used to come to the city to a red carpet welcome. To ensure that they had a smooth ride, the roads were metaled overnight and the central verges and berms painted afresh. Encroachments were removed and cops kept guard all along the way. Their necks found it difficult to carry the weight of garlands as hundreds of their supporters surrounded them.

This was the way the scions of the erstwhile princely state of Patiala and the rulers of the Punjab polity for the last five years, were treated in the city. Even better treatment was meted to the former CM’s ‘blue-eyed’ media advisor, Bharat Inder Singh Chahal. But today, when they visited the city, one could see total contrast in the treatment meted out to them.

All of them, including Raninder Singh and Raminder Singh, son and son-in-law of Capt Amarinder Singh respectively and B.I.S. Chahal, came to the city for joining investigation in the infamous City Centre Scam. Accompanied by a small bunch of supporters and anxiety writ large on their faces, they could find little solace in the axiom that time is a great leveller.

The city roads were as dirty as ever. They were not cleaned for their visit as they no longer held the reins of power in their hands. The cops were there but only to prevent their supporters from causing trouble or to keep them away. No official or bureaucrat came to welcome them except the Vigilance sleuths. This time, staying away was politically and professionally correct.

There were some who wanted to make their presence felt but shied away from the camera for obvious reasons. To the amusement of others, one of them begged the media photographers not to carry his heir pictures along with the ‘accused’ lest the Vigilance would nab him also.

There were curious onlookers though, who wanted to see how these ‘powerful’ people were treated by the Vigilance Bureau.

They too were shooed away by cops on-guard in order to check any trouble. The media persons were however, aplenty, as they did not want to miss the proceedings of the day.

The gathering however, proved to be a boon for the shop owners around the Vigilance office as cool and soothing drinks were the only way to get some respite from the scorching heat, resulting in good sales for the latter.

Meanwhile, all the heavyweights of Congress in the city remained conspicuous by their absence during the visit of Captain's kin and his media adviser here today. Except for former MLA and parliamentary secretary Surinder Dawar, all other former MLAs and five sitting Congress MLAs including Tej Parkash Singh, Harmohinder Singh Pardhan, Jassi Khangura, Ishar Singh Meharban and Gurdeep Singh Bhaini stayed away from the scene.

The city mayor, senior deputy mayor, District Congress Committee chief, and most of the trustees of improvement trust were nowhere to be seen. Punjab Youth Congress supremo, Vijay Inder Singla and his supporters were present in the morning. K K Bawa, Gurdev Lapran, Sanjay Talwar and Dimple Rana made the most of the occasion and marked their presence.

Raninder Singh said he would not beg any Congress man to come when he visited the city. At the same time he added had his father been there, more people wouldhave come.

It was a bad day for Preneet Kaur, former CM's wife and MP, who was accompanying her son and son-in-law as she had to sit in the verandah of the Zila Parishad building while the city recorded the temperature of over 46 degrees Celsius today. Some Congress workers said that while the Zila Parishad was dominated by Congress party nobody even opened a room for her today.

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1 more dies of food poisoning

Ludhiana, June 10
The casualties in the suspected incident of food poisoning have risen to two with a five-year-old girl, Kamini, also breathing her last in the DMCH this afternoon.

She was one of the nine persons, including seven children and two women, hospitalised at the DMCH and Raghunath Hospital on June 8 after they allegedly ate an unhygienic watermelon. A five-year-old boy, Ram Bharat, had died that day only.

Malti Rani, the mother of the girl said her family had taken a loan of over Rs 20,000 from different persons to arrange for Kamini’s treatment but she could not be saved. Kamini’s family had a tiff with the DMCH staff for the release of the body. — TNS

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Naam charcha 
Police averts protest by radicals
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 10
The police remained on its heels today to control the activists of various radical Sikh organisations that had converged at Dera Sacha Sauda at Jagera near here to protest against the alleged continuation of ‘naam charcha’ by the followers of Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh, settled in the town and surrounding villages falling under Sangrur and Ludhiana districts.

Though the officials of Payal police managed to control the situation by assuring the protesters that gathering of ‘premis’ and ‘naam charcha’ would not be allowed at the dera, the activists turned hostile when a circle police officer from Malerkotla reached the spot but did not come down his vehicle to hear their side of the story.

Meanwhile, a police team conducted a flag march to boost the morale of the residents of the town and surrounding villages falling in Sangrur district.

Investigations by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that activists of various radical Sikh organisations, led by Amandeep Singh, president, Sikh Students Federation (Daljit Bittu group), started converging near naam charcha ghar at Jagera village near here in the afternoon. They had come to know that followers of Gurmit Ram Rahim had been continuing ‘naam charcha’ on every Sunday and on other specified days. “When reports of continuation of ‘naam charcha’ at a place adjoining the native village of Kanwaljit Singh, who was killed at Sunam during the present conflict, reached the senior leaders of our organisations, they instructed us to visit the area and find out the truth. Strangely enough, the police officials, instead of stopping the ‘premis’ from gathering at the dera, tried to justify their action,” said Amandeep while talking to Ludhiana Tribune.

“Though Gurpreet Singh, DSP, Malerkotla, had come to the spot, he refused to listen to our grievances. He even refused to come down from his vehicle and listen to us,” alleged Amandeep Singh, threatening that the activists would do ‘anything’ to stop ‘naam charcha’ at the dera or any other private place.

DSP, Malerkotla, Gurpreet Singh, on the other hand, maintained that he was not supposed to talk to the activists of the Sikh organisations as the area inhabiting the dera did not fall under his jurisdiction. “I had just stopped there to talk to the officials of the Payal police who were supervising the security of the dera,” said Gurpreet Singh.

Meanwhile, Sarwan Kumar, an office bearer of the dera, maintained that the confusion was created due to a statement issued by a local councillor and a SAD leader. “Though we come here to look after the plants and vegetables, we never act in a way that might hurt the sentiments of the members of any community. Today also we had come to attend the monthly meeting, for which, no formal statement was issued to any of the reporters. The councillor had issued statement on his own but it should not be treated as the official statement of the dera,” said Sarwan Kumar.

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Robbery accused still at large

Doraha, June 10
Even after five days of interrogation of an accused, the Doraha police is clueless about the whereabouts of two other accused involved in the robbery attempt.

While Baldev Singh was caught by a neighbour of Khushwant Singh, whose house was ransacked, the other managed to escape.

Amar Nath, chowki in-charge, said while Baldev Singh had been sent to jail, the other accused had been identified as Pankaj of Ludhiana. He, however, made no indications about the involvement of the third person, whose presence was confirmed by residents of the area.— OC

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Mason rapes girl for 5 months, booked
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 10
The Payal police has booked a mason of Chinkuian village under Sections 376, 506, 120 B, IPC, for allegedly threatening and raping a class VII student of village school for more than five months. Mother of the accused has also been booked for allegedly conspiring and facilitating the crime. Both the accused are reportedly absconding after registration of the case.

In an FIR registered at the police station, Aman Jit Kaur (fake name) daughter of Amrik Singh of Chinkoian village, has accused Sukhpal Singh (29), a mason of the village, of raping her in connivance with his mother Bhindo. Though the police was yet to get the medical examination of the complainant conducted, she claimed that she was four months pregnant.

Preliminary investigations by the police revealed that the accused, who as a neighbour, was a casual visitor to their house. As Sukhpal Singh had lost hope of getting married, he started making eyes at Aman Jit Kaur and Bhindo felicitated him in his sinister designs.

“While the parents of the girl continued to send her to their house believing that nothing adverse could happen, Sukhpal started raping her,” told SHO, adding that the
parents of the victim came to know about the sin only after symptoms of pregnancy started appearing a few days ago.

“Aman Jit was not ready to disclose the name of the accused as she had been threatened of dire consequences by them,” the parents of the victim told the police.

Referring to information received from Amar Nath, SHO, Doraha, claimed that the exact stage of the pregnancy would be known only after the medical examination.

Though the police claimed to have raided house of the accused and other hideouts, no arrest was yet made.

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Ludhiana Calling

Not restricting to computers, it is mobile handsets that are now victims of viruses. City residents said a text message was received. When it was opened, it resulted in the phone getting flooded with a large number of messages causing data in the phone getting destroyed. While not opening an SMS from unknown number is advised in such cases, it cannot be denied that virus creators can be engaged in more such ‘'innovative’' work.

CETP woes

Lukewarm response from within the industry to common effluent treatment plant was no less than a shock for the executive body of the special purpose vehicle (SPV), that comprised industrialists, formed for operationalising the plant. Of the estimated 500 electroplating units, less than 120 availed membership despite repeatedly being asked for more than two months. Finally, the SPV was forced to be strict and has now issued a deadline of June 20 for industrialists. May be, this would work, they feel!

Help, rain god

Soaring temperature is giving city residents a tough time. Excessive heat has not only made it an arduous task to venture out, it is affecting business as well. While kids and those who have their holidays are forced to stay indoors, city markets wear a deserted look for most part of the day. The business community only hopes the rain god to show some mercy so that the coming days can be good for them too!

Rescue truck

Mercury has crossed the 45 degrees mark in Ludhiana. Only yesterday, it was 46.5 degrees celcius. The blistering heat is forcing the people to stay indoors. While many well-to-do families can afford different cooling systems, there are some who have to bear the brunt of weather. The poor have no place to go but to look for shelters. This truck driver did not find any other shade but his truck only came to his rescue for a few moments of rest. (see pic)

No bribe, please?

The Ludhiana Improvement Trust is always embroiled in controversies related to corruption. Residents raise a lot of hue and cry against the rampant corruption. Ironically, this is the only department in the city with a message written right near its entrance that “Giving and taking bribe is a crime”. Is anyone follow it?

Shopkeepers’ holiday

Ludhianvis are known to be money minded. They rarely agree to close shops. But even they seem to have been grossly affected by the sweltering heat. Various markets have decided to remain closed for three to five days so that traders and their families can spend some cool time on hills. The trend was earlier limited to modern markets like the AC market but now shopkeepers all over the city have taken up the idea. The Punjab State Electricity Board, too, will be happy as the electricity is saved.

Publicity

Unlike earlier when one's name in a newspaper was a rarity, these days it is such a common practice that even the not-so-publicity-conscious people, like students, know the importance of it. Examination results had newspaper offices flooded with details of accomplishments by students, along with their photographs. So much so that a few ones even visited offices to ensure that their names were not missed as they would have to cut a sorry figure in front of their friends . If we have scored well, why should it not be highlighted, a student said. Smart approach indeed!

Fake 500 notes

Fake Rs 500 notes are in circulation in the city. And to one's surprise, the ATMs are transacting these notes. The people do not come to know unless they are told by petrol stations and some outlets. They refuse to accept these notes stating these were fake. Residents do not come to know what to do with the notes as even banks refuse to accept these. Some do not mind passing these on as they do not want to suffer the loss because of no fault of theirs. — TNS

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Punjab delaying medical admissions despite SC, MCI directions
K S Chawla

Ludhiana, June 10
The Punjab Government issued the notification that PMET 2007 would be conducted on July 8. This goes against the Supreme Court directions which state that entrance tests for MBBS and BDS should be held in the month of May. This means the whole process of admission to MBBS courses might get delayed.

The state government issued the notification on May 21.

The PMET would be conducted by Baba Farid University of Health Sciences.

Medical Council of India (MCI) guidelines state the admission processes in various states must adhere to the announced schedule.

According to the schedule for admission to medical and dental courses, the entrance test should be conducted in the month of May and the declaration of result should come by June 15. The first round of counselling should be over by July 17 and the last date for joining the allotted college and course should be July 29. The second counselling should be held between August 25 to 28. Commencement of academic session should be between August 1 to 31.

Secretary, Medical Education and Research, Punjab Government, Jagjit Puri, admitted the process will get delayed this year. He said Baba Farid University of Health Sciences has been asked to have the test by June 7 next year.

Also, the MCI has found three government-run medical colleges to be short staffed. The authorities have given written assurance to MCI that the admission processes in these colleges, located in Amritsar, Faridkot and Patiala, will not begin unless the vacancies are filled. The colleges admit 150 students each year.

Jagjit Puri said 47 vacancies in these colleges would be filled by June 14. Besides, 57 new posts would be created and filled this month.

The delay in admissions in Pujab forces the students here to get admission in other states and when they are later able to get admission in Punjab colleges they have to suffer financial loss as the colleges in other states refund only a part of the fee.

Citing this very reason, founder vice-chancellor of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Dr Livtar Singh Chawla, emphasised the state government should complete the admission to medical colleges according to the MCI schedule.

The management of the Sri Guru Ramdas Institute of Medical Science and Research, Amritsar, had sought enhancement of seats for MBBS course from 50 to 100 seats.

The MCI team, which visited the institute in the month of March, found a number of deficiencies and did not recommend the increase in the number of seats. However, outgoing director -Principal of the institute Dr P S Malhotra, through his letter of April 30 informed the MCI and the central Health Ministry that the deficiencies had been met and the same could be verified.

According to information available with this reporter, the MCI team visited the Amritsar institute on June 2 to make an on-the-spot inquiry into the deficiencies. The MCI is yet to convey its decision regarding the increase in the number of seats.

Sri Guru Ramdas Institute of Medical Science and Research is reportedly faced with a financial crisis and has taken a loan of Rs 20 crore for the purchase of equipment and other infrastructure. The staff of the institute has not been paid the salary for three months now.

Meanwhile Christian Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, also sought increase in seats for MBBS from 50 to 100. When the MCI team visited CMCH, it found deficiencies in the course for even 50 seats and reportedly issued a show-cause notice to the CMCH Management.

CMCH principal Dr John Abraham admitted that the rise in the number of seats may not happen this year. 

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Karl Marx called 1857 struggle First War of Independence: CPI
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 10
Communist speakers at a seminar today claimed that it was Karl Marx who described the events of 1857 as 'India's First War of Independence'. They said, immediately after the widespread struggle in India during 1857 Marx wrote, much against the impression created by the British that it was just a 'sepoy mutiny', the actions of Indians had mass participation across the land wherein the working class had risen against the British imperialist forces.

The seminar was organised by the local unit of the Communist Party of India (CPI). The speakers maintained that even though several incidents of revolt against the British imperialism had occurred before 1857, it was only in that year that a nationwide movement developed to overthrow the alien empire. "This did not happen in a few days, but was the result of a simmering unrest against British despotism that the people of India, irrespective of religion, caste and region got united," one of the speakers said.

They pointed out, the British had come to India through The East India Company and soon started to have political ambitions. They connived with the feudal lords here and used their army to overpower Indians.

According to assistant secretary of the Ludhiana district unit of the CPI Dr Arun Mitra, "Great philosopher Karl Marx in his writings rejected the British government's statements that it was mutiny of the sepoys, but said that it was revolt of the Indian people against the imperial rule." He said, it was general secretary of the CPI, P C Joshi, who brought out this fact way back in 1950s. These points then became the basis on which the Government of India too declared these events as first war of India's independence.

The leftist leaders said, just as in 1857, today also there was a dire need for the secular and progressive forces in the country to unite to counter the onslaught of the imperialism coming to power again in connivance with the “elite” of the country. They said, united people's movements are essential.

Those who addressed the seminar included member, central executive committee of the CPI, Joginder Dayal, state secretary Jagroop Singh, district secretary Kartar Singh Bowani, Harish Puri and others.

Malwa Cultural Group from Lehra Gagga presented a cultural programme with revolutionary themes.

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Clash between supporters of SAD leaders averted
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh,June 10
Timely intervention by the Payal police averted a clash between supporters of two senior SAD leaders and former ministers at Malaudh town, near here, last evening.

While supporters of Jagdish Singh Garcha had gathered to open a branch office of the Truck Operators Union at Pohir, those supporting Maheshinder Singh Grewal had come to stop them from doing so.

However, the clash which could have turned bloody was averted when Randhir Singh, SHO, Payal, persuaded leaders of the Grewal faction to pacify their activists and the faction led by Mann Singh Garcha, brother of Jagdish Garcha inaugurated the sub office of the Ahmedgarh (Pohir) union in the evening.

Maheshinder Singh Grewal had inaugurated the office of the Truck Operators Union, Malaudh, about a week ago.

Investigations revealed that SAD activists owing allegiance to the Grewal faction had started gathering near the grain market, Malaudh, after receiving reports that a sub office of the Ahmedgarh truck union was to be opened there and Mr Mann Singh Garcha was to inaugurate the office.

Ultimately, a group of activists, wielding crude weapons, including swords, locked the main gate of the grain market, obviously with an intention to stop Garcha supporters from entering and opening the office. The other group started preparing to retaliate. However, Mr Randhir Singh, SHO, Payal, succeeded in persuading leaders of the Grewal faction to stop their supporters from creating any 
problem.

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  Return powers to re-employed: GESA
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 10
Terming the allocation of drawing and disbursement powers to junior teachers by ignoring the re-employed head masters and principals, as disgrace to the office of head of an institute, Joginder Singh Aulakh, president, Gazetted Educational Services Association (GESA) has urged the state education department authorities to stop the practise and enable such officers to continue exercising their powers for improving the standard of education at institutes headed by them.

Justifying the demand raised by the organisation, Aulakh alleged that practise of delegating drawing and disbursement powers to junior teachers in the presence of otherwise more competent educators, had created ambiguity about the controlling authorities of the two officials.

“When the government can allow re-employment of a retired principal or a headmaster then what is wrong in authorising him or her to draw and disburse the funds. The practise, instead of smoothening the functioning, has created difference among the members of the staff at the concerned schools,” claimed Aulakh, adding that the retired employees were equally responsible as they have to withdraw their pension from the government.

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Seminars ‘enrich’ teachers’ knowledge
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 10
Terming the ‘teacher- training programme’ imperative for maintenance of standard of education at schools, Mr Darshan Singh Dhaliwal, OSD, DPI, Schools( Secondary) Chandigarh, claimed that hundreds of primary and upper primary teachers from Sangrur and Ludhiana districts had enhanced their knowledge by attending seminars held at camps organised at various schools in this part of Malwa.

Talking to this reporter after inspecting a camp at Government Senior Secondary School, Dehlon, Dhaliwal claimed that a majority of the teachers had shown a keen interest in perceiving knowledge imparted by experts in various fields.

“Contrary to the common belief, a majority of the teachers, including office-bearers of unions, have been attending the seminars according to the schedule,” said Dhaliwal, adding that no irregularity was noticed during surprise checking at schools in Ludhiana and Sangrur districts. Applauding the role of coordinators in arranging lectures by experts in various fields, Dhaliwal called upon teachers to utilise the knowledge acquired at these seminars for the welfare of their students.

Earlier, Gurdeep Kaur, principal, Government In-service Training Centre, Ludhiana, Joginder Singh Aulakh, principal, DIET, Jagraon, and Ashok Bhalla, district education officer, Sangrur, supervised camps being organised at various schools in this area.

Gurdeep Kaur claimed that the education department had focused attention on incorporating innovative teaching techniques and modern concepts of ideal classroom teaching at the school level. “Feeling concerned about increase in dropout rate, we enhanced our efforts to check the problems and find remedies. Besides bringing these changes we have focused our attention on solving problems faced by our teachers,” said Gurdeep Kaur, adding that union government guidelines were being followed in letter and in spirit. 

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Blood donation camp
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 10
A blood donation camp was organised by Apna Dal to commemorate the birth centenary of martyr Sukhdev at the community centre in Aggar Nagar here today in which 38 volunteers donated blood.

The camp was inaugurated by MP Sharanjit Singh Dhillon. Doctors, along with supporting staff from Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, rendered their services for collection of blood.

Ashok Setia, director, New Senior Secondary School and other speakers, focused on the role of Sukhdev and his associates, in the freedom struggle of the country.

They said martyrs like Sukhdev, Bhagat Singh and Rajguru, had, through their sacrifices, kept the torch of freedom movement burning, among the youth of the country.

Prominent among others present on the occasion were, members of the body, including, president Pradeep Kumar, vice president Ram Kumar, secretary Pankaj Jundal, assistant secretary Vinod Kumar and treasurer Kulbhushan.

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Summer camp at Lodhi Club
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana June 10
A recreation summer camp, celebrating the summer of 2007, commenced at Lodhi Club here today, offering a potpourri of thrilling offers to choose from, with items like salsa, western dance, speaking skills, writing skills, calligraphy, trousseau packing, creative strokes, clay modelling, flower arrangements, cooking, psychological games, learning moral values through fun and lots more.

Manoj Gupta, general secretary of the club said workshops like that of Kundli, bead and thread and events like rain dance with non-stop DJ and movie days, will be the added attractions of the camp.

The camp witnessed an exorbitant and enthusiastic response from the young and the not-so-young members on the inaugural day itself.

The members had a learning experience through various workshops which started after the inauguration of the camp by Anand Sikri, vice president of the club. 

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Gang of yarn robbers busted, 5 nabbed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 10
The police has busted a gang of yarn robbers, who have been accused of committing 22 thefts in Ludhiana and Phagwara in the past few months. Five members of the gang have been arrested.

Addressing a press conference here today, SP Harish Kumar said gang leader Santosh Kumar alias Totla was involved in similar crime earlier also. He had formed the gang after release from jail in January this year.

He said the SHO of Basti Jodhewal had busted the gang. About the modus operandi, he said the accused used to work in a factory as labourers first and loot it later.

Besides Totla, the other arrested accused were Ajay Kumar, Rajmann, Harishankar and Vikram.

Police officials said they have recovered Rs 80,000, along with a pistol and sharp-edged weapons, from them. The police would also take action against the persons, who bought the stolen goods from them.

The police has again requested all employers to verify the antecedents of labourers from the police.

The accused have reportedly confessed the 22 robberies. The police has informed the Phagwara police also about the catch.

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