L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

MC adding to power crisis
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 11
While the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) is reeling under immense pressure owing to paddy transplantation and continuing heat wave, the Municipal Corporation does not seem to care if wastage of electricity by way of switching on the streetlights during daytime is any consideration.

Everyday street lights were switched on at around 5 in the evening till 8 in the morning.

After reports from various parts of the city that MC contractors were wasting electricity by lighting the street lamps before sunset, now the residents of D-block of BRS Nagar have complained the power was being wasted with impunity.

They claimed that they had been the witness to this wastage for past many days. For some days, they kept on thinking that some maintenance work was being carried out but when it continued then they realised what was actually happening.

‘‘There is pressure on power from all quarters. The mercury shot up to 46 degrees and people have to depend on cooling systems operated on it. Farmers have to transplant paddy and they also require electricity throughout the day. If the MC can do its bit to save power by just following the schedule, what is the harm? ’’ said J.P. Singh, a resident of D-block.

He further said everyday the lights were switched on at around 5 in the evening and were lit up till 8 in the morning. ‘‘This has been going on for a month. We think the contractor switches on the lights at 5 p.m. before going home to finish his work. And nobody is checking on him.’’

Residents demanded that the lights should be switched on only after the sunset. ‘‘We can do with one or two lights in the entire street now. The rest can be discontinued for the time being when the state is facing power crisis.” They added that some serious measures had to be followed to save electricity.

Earlier also, The Tribune had reported that the lights were switched on during day hours in several areas. Reacting to the news, MC chief Vikas Partap had taken action against some erring employees. He had also promised to streamline things soon.

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Chahal case: Visitors throng court
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, June 11
It was a mela like atmosphere in the district courts today as the curious visitors thronged the complex to have a glimpse of ex-media adviser B I S Chahal, who was arrested yesterday by the police in attempt to murder and land-grabbing case.

The police had made elaborate security arrangements to avoid any untoward incident. One DSP, along with three SHOs, remained present in the district court complex till Chahal was taken away by the police after getting the police remand.

Curiousity of people, media persons and lawyers made the court jampacked. Everyone wanted to listen the arguments given by government prosecutor and defence lawyers and to know more about the proceedings of the case.

Interestinlgy, the prosecution had produced five government lawyers, including special public prosecutor M L Solanki, who was handling the City Centre Scam, along with district attorney Mitter Sain Goyal.

Apart from him, additional public prosecutor A S Chadha argued the case. Sukhchain Singh, M L Bathla and Sibia (all goverment pleaders) were also present there. Several office bearers of the Congress Legal Cell were also present in the court room to get the firsthand information about the development of the case.

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Hawala Racket
2 brothers held with Rs 33 lakh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 11
The police has busted an alleged hawala racket and arrested two brothers.

SSP Gupreet Singh Bhullar said sim cards recovered from the seven mobile sets of the accused would prove a virtual goldmine for investigators to find out persons involved in the racket.

Bhullar told Ludhiana Tribune that the two brothers, Vinay Goyal and Nitin Goyal, arrested with over Rs 33 lakh hawala money, had important links in the racket. Their arrest assumed significance for the police as they had not been caught despite being active in the work for the past two years.

The joint investigation reveal that the accused were running the racket under the banner of "The Money Exchanger Western Union" from Rani Jhansi Chowk, Jagraon.

The SSP said both brothers, along with an amount of Rs 33,25,100, were handed over yesterday to R.S. Chauhan, Assistant Director, Income Tax, Investigation Wing, Ludhiana, and R.D.Gandi and Naranjan Singh, Assistant Director Enforcement Investigation Department, Jalandhar.

The collective investigation has further revealed that the accused had many shops at various places like Jalandhar - 3, Ludhiana - 2, Mullanpur - 1, Raikot - 1, Nawan Shahar - 1, Phagwara - 1 and Delhi - 2.

During further enquiry it has also been come into light that a case was also registered at Jagraon in 1995 against their maternal uncle Inder Kumar for keeping unauthorised foreign currency. In this case, some USA dollars were seized from him.

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Mob pacified after wife promised job
School blamed for driver's death
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 11
The Greenland Public School authorities today agreed to give free education to three children and a job to their mother after the morning drama, when an unruly mob, including wife and her relatives, staged a dharna in front of the school, along with the body of her husband, who was employed as a driver there a month ago.

The deceased driver Amar Singh died in a road accident in Delhi on Saturday. His family, however, held the school authorities responsible for the death, arguing that school director Rajesh Rudra had dismissed him from service over a month ago.

Police officials of Salem Tabri and Basti Jodhewal intervened in the matter and deployed massive policemen to prevent any violence. The police later effected a compromise in the matter under which the free education and job to the mother was approved.

Ajit Singh and Ricky, relatives of the victim along with others, accused the school authorities of removing the driver in an unfair manner. They alleged that due to the dismissal, Amar was deeply upset and had met with the accident due to his disturbed state of mind only.

They claimed that Amar Singh had to sell household goods, including an LPG cylinder, to look after the burning. He got a job with a transporter at Delhi but it was not financially viable for him to work far away from the house.

The family vent their anger at the school when they reached there in the morning with the body of the deceased and raised slogans. They sought a compensation of Rs 5 lakh from the school.

The director said he did not bow to any kind of pressure but agreed to give free education and job on humanitarian grounds only. He said he had dismissed the driver as he had taken away his new car without permission and broke his front windshield.

He said he was shocked at the behaviour of the mob and the way they demanded compensation of Rs 5 lakh. He said the school had been giving free education to 60 needy students and had always been taking up cases on sympathetic grounds.

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Gang of dacoits busted, four nabbed
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, June 11
The local police today claimed to have busted a gang of dacoits with the arrest of Gurpreet Singh of Fatehgarh Korotana, Balwinder Singh of Bhoipur, Surinderpal Singh of Jogian Mohalla Dharmkot and Jagdish Singh of Jeevan Patti, Fatehgarh. Motor bikes, pistol and sharp edged weapons were also recovered from them.

According to Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP, district Ludhiana (rural), the local police party, under Gurmit Singh Brar, SHO, Jagraon, held a naka near Dalla, on a tip-off that the four accused, along with Satnam Singh of Jeevan Patti, Fatehgarh Korotana and Balbir Singh of Bhattiwali Basti Dharmkot, armed with deadly weapons, had gathered in an abandoned building at Ladha Mehandiana road and were planning to carry out a dacoity in a bank at Mallah.

When the police party raided the site, the accused opened fire on them.

Out of six, Satnam Singh and Balbir Singh managed to flee while the rest four were arrested.

One Indian made .12 bore pistol alongwith two cartages was recovered from Shinderpal Singh. Besides this, two swords and 2 motorcycles without number, and a Kinetic Honda scooter (PB-69-71420) were also recovered, which had, allegedly been reported as stolen.

A case under Section 307, 399, 402 of the IPC and Sections 25, 54, 59 of the Arms Act had been registered.

During interrogation, the arrested four confessed to their involvement in 20 incidents, including thefts and extortions.

They revealed that their other accomplices, Balwinder Singh and Balbir Singh Gogga, deal in fake currency while Billa is in central jail, Ferozpur.

Later in the day, the accused were remanded to police custody till June 13. 

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Badal’s effigy burnt
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 11
Members of the SC and ST cell of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee today burned the effigy of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for not being able to control violence in the state during the recent past.

Led by Dr Ajit Singh, senior vice-president of the cell, the activists raised slogans against Badal and launched an attack on the government. Dr Ajit said the Akali-BJP government had aroused anger, violence and sheer distress among the people of the state within 100 days of its formation. The police, instead of protecting the people, had started killing them, going by the example of DSP Harpreet Benipal in Noormehal violence case.

He further said the Badal government was indulging in divide-and-rule policy in the state. That is why the Dalit family, three members of which had committed suicide due to atrocities suffered at the hands of the police, was not granted any compensation.

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Heat pours, proves damper for city’s working
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana June 11
The mercury at 47 degrees Celsius is an experience we all share these days. Three more degrees and it will touch 50. That remains the biggest story for the common man. Life has been thrown out of gear by this with city residents preferring to stay indoors for as much time as possible.

The white collar workers and shopkeepers try their best to reach their workplaces as soon as possible. The queues seem never ending to those who have to stand in them. But the worst off are the labour class who have to work in heat pouring from the sun.

The usually congested roads now wear a deserted look with very low movement of traffic because of extreme heat conditions between 11 am to 5 pm. Raghav Arya, a shopkeeper near Deepak Cinema said that his profession demanded a lot of legwork but he avoided going out during the day. "There is no sense in going out in the afternoon. People prefer to meet after 4 pm in the evening and as a result my work suffers. But nobody can help in this situation," he said.

Kartar Singh, a middle-aged man from Jodhan, has been frequenting at the Mini Secretariat for the past four days to get his land registration refund. But the concerned official has been transferred and the new one has taken the charge but Kartar Singh's file remains in the former's possession. "They say the key to the cabinet is with the former official. I come here daily from 20 kilometres away to get my refund in this scorching heat but they seem to be least bothered," he said.

The plight of migrant labourers working on repairing of roads cannot be expressed in words. Umdha Rani, a daily wager, said that they were used to working in tough conditions because they had no choice. Her two-year-old son Beenu Prasad was seen swinging in a hammock made of ropes under a shady tree. "We survive on water and more water. When we are extremely tired, we take a small nap under some shady tree," said Umdha Rani.

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Railways lands  farmers in a fix
Gurminder Singh Grewal

Khamano, June 11
Farmers of about 12 villages near Khamano and Sanghol are in a fix because officials of the Railways have failed to demarcate the proposed land being acquired for the railway link between Ludhiana-Chandigarh.

A large number of farmers of these villages, while talking to mediapersons, said although the electricity board had started eight-hour power supply for the field but they were not able to sow the paddy because there was no demarcation of the acquired land despite their repeated requests.

They said they had talked to senior officials but nothing had been done so far. Due to the rail link, the land of most of the farmers had been divided into two parts and they had to make arrangements for water on both sides and it was also getting late.

Farmers of Bilaspur, Sanghol, Bathan, Ranwan and Bhambri, etc alleged that their lands were being acquired on much lower prices as compared to market rate.

They said the market rate of one acre land was about Rs 20 lakh but they had been given only Rs 8.50 lakh per acre. They warned that they would be forced to launch an agitation if their demands were not accepted immediately.

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MC begins to recarpet Pakhowal road
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 11
The Pakhowal road that had been in a bad shape for quite some time is finally being recarpeted by the Municipal Corporation.

The work started yesterday, while earlier the authorities had said that it would start after the monsoon season. The bad condition of the road was making traveling on it a hassle and the residents affected by this were about to start an agitation.

Though the MC had done some patchwork on this road a month ago, the road’s condition did not improve enough to make traveling on it any better.

Sources in the MC said that tenders were called for repairing this road last month and finally the work order was released for its repairs.

While this road is getting good treatment at the hands of MC, there are several other major roads that require immediate attention.

These include Gill Road, several roads in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, Lodhi Club Road and BRS Nagar.

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Kidney patient needs help
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 11
Anju, a resident of Jalandhar, has been diagnosed with severe chronic renal failure. This mother of a baby boy of eight months, comes from a poor family, and is unable to meet the expenses of her treatment. At present, she is undergoing haemodialysis twice a week at Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) here.

The victim of the renal failure needs urgent kidney transplant which is the only hope for her survival. Her mother has volunteered to donate one kidney.

According to Anju, her husband is a small businessman, who barely earns to meet the daily needs of his entire family, and her father too, has a small business of yarn brokerage.

According to Dr Basant Pawar, head of nephrology department, the entire treatment is expected to cost Rs 2 lakh. Even the expenses of dialysis are being managed by donations from friends and relatives.

Considering the family's low economic status and Anju's deteriorating health, the CMCH authorities have requested the good samaritans to help her.

All donations can be sent to Dr Basant Pawar, HOD, Department of Nephrology, CMCH, Ludhiana 141008 in form of cheques or demand drafts, made in favour of "CMC , Ludhiana Society" with "Treatment for Ms Anju" written on the back side of the bank instruments.

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Scratch Card Scheme 
Winner left scratching head

Ludhiana, June 11
A local resident who won a TV in a scratch card scheme, Lohri Dhoom, of LG Electronics, is yet to get it. It has been five months since he won the TV.

Vimal Sahota, bought an LG washing machine and a refrigerator from Navrang Electronics in Feroze Gandhi Market on January 13. After some days he was contacted by the employees of the store and informed that he had won a 21 inch TV in the scheme.

Vimal went to the store to claim his TV but was told that the TV had not arrived. He kept making rounds with a draft of Rs 800 the store people demanded as he was required to pay TDS for the free gift.

But even after making many rounds he was not given anything. ‘‘I did not ask for the TV. They only told me that I had won one. Now they are harassing me.’’

When this correspondent contacted the concerned store, the person on the phone, who did not identify himself said that they did not know anything about the customer and said only the company people would be knowing the details. Calls to the company office yielded nothing as nobody picked up the phone. — TNS

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Heroin worth Rs 9 cr seized, one arrested
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 11
The officials of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) have arrested a truck driver Amarjit Singh and seized around 9 kgs of heroin from his possession. The contraband is said to be worth Rs 9 crore in the international market.

According to sources in the DRI, the truck coming from Ferozepur, was intercepted near Rajguru Nagar locality on Ferozepur Road here on Sunday and heroin was recovered from a secret compartment behind the driver's seat.

Preliminary interrogation of the driver revealed that the consignment was to be delivered to some Nigerian in Ropar, and subsequently to be sold in Chandigarh area. The DRI officials were reported to be pursuing the trail of this drug trafficking operation, purportedly being run by a group of African persons who bring cocaine and other narcotics to India and take back heroin.

Amarjit Singh was remanded to judicial custody of 14 days by a local court.

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