L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Land Grab Case
More complaints against Chahal, kin
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 12
With B.I.S. Chahal, ex-media advisor to Capt Amarinder Singh, in the dock for his involvement in an alleged land grab case of Daad village, three more complainants have come forward seeking registration of case against him and his associates.

The complainants claim they could not get justice when the Congress was in power. One of the complainants was a Congress councillor-turned-Akali leader now.

Addressing a press conference here last evening, K.L. Chhabra, MD of Chhabra Land and Housing Limited, Ludhiana, who won the councillor election on a Congress ticket but later joined SAD-Badal, alleged that Kartar Singh, granfather-in-law of Chahal’s son had grabbed his land in Daad village.

He said, “Besides that, Kartar boasted of Chahal’s power and forced me into a partnership in the colonies he was developing. However, he refused to give me any share after that.”

Chhabra claimed that Kartar Singh repeatedly used the name of Chahal to pressurise police officials and threatened several other land holders.

Even a postman, who had bought a 100 yard plot, claimed to be a victim of the accused.

Sushil Grover, a postman at the Focal Point post office, said he had the registration papers of the land but Kartar Singh, along with his men, razed the construction and threatened them to leave the plot. He claimed that no action was taken by the police on his complaint.

A businessman, I.S. Pahwa, also complained that Kartar Singh had grabbed his 2,000-square yard plot at Daad village and threatened him against raising his voice.

Police sources said the senior officials were reviewing the complaints and a fresh inquiry might be carried out in these cases.

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Tuesday turns out to be their doomsday
3 robbers arrested
Tribune News Service

Crimes by
the gang

  • Looted Rs 35,000 from a gas agency at Kapurthala in 2001.
  • Rs 1 lakh from cashier of Prince Bus Service in 2001.
  • Rs 3,50,000 from the post office of Bhullath in 2003.
  • Rs 5 lakh from the UAE Bank, BMC Chowk, Jalandhar in 2003.
  • Rs 1,08,000 from a bank, Ughi Chitti village, Jalandhar, in 2003.
  • Rs 5,90,000 from the post office of Tanda in 2003.
  • Rs 1,28,000 from a commission agent at Kapurthala in March, 2007.

Jagraon, June 12
The Ludhiana-Rural police has nabbed three members of a notorious gang of robbers, who were allegedly involved in nearly 20 robberies in banks, post offices and other places and were unique in a manner that they preferred to strike on Tuesdays only.

The police seized arms from their possession, including a sophisticated revolver and vehicles, cash and other articles. The gloves and masks used by the gang have also been seized.

IG,Jalandhar Zone, Sanjiv Kalra, and DIG Ishwar Singh today claimed in a press conference here that a Jagraon police team, led by SSP Gurpreet Singh Bullar had busted a gang in time as it was going to strike at a major bank in Ludhiana. The gang was overpowered after a minor shoot-out.

The arrested accused include Lakhvir Singh alias Lakhi alias Raj of Bhullar Bet in Kapurthala, Paramjit Singh alias Rinku alias Sunny of Mehtab garh and Baldev Singh alias Billu alias Rana of Khusropur in Kapurthala.

The police seized six revolvers/pistols, 59 cartridges, one empty cartridge, cash worth Rs 50,000, a motorcycle, a scooter, 6 monkey caps, 6 pairs of gloves, and a cellphone of Nokia from their possession.

The officials claimed that the gangsters struck only on Tuesdays as they believed that the day was lucky for them.

Interestingly, the gang members, who committed various crimes throughout the state, had found hiding places in Ludhiana and Jalandhar.

They used to rent a house for three months posing themselves as truck drivers. In Ludhiana, they lived in Dugri and had rented another house near Jalandhar.

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Not a drop to drink
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 12
The heat wave has failed to relent. So is the scarcity of water. Owing to the declining water table and power cuts, residents are feeling the heat and crying for water.

Sick of drinking water scarcity, residents of several areas falling in ward number 31 blocked Gill Road for two hours in the afternoon to register protest here today.

Residents of Guru Gobind Singh Nagar, Harkishan Nagar, Barota Road and Preet Nagar, while raising slogans against councillor Rajinder Singh Bajwa, said when the mercury had shot up to 47 degrees, there was not a drop of water to drink.

The residents said they had been complaining to the councillor for the past many days but their grievance was not redressed.

They added that contractor, who was given the charge of supplying water to the area, was not releasing even a single drop and they had to do without this when the city was sizzling.

Major Singh, another resident, said they were left with no option but to take to streets in this weather.

‘‘We hope that we will be heard finally after staging a dharna. If they do not restore the supply to our areas by tomorrow, we would intensify our agitation, ’’ he said.

Jathedar Kuldeep Singh Khalsa, another residents, said while they were reeling under the scarcity, the civic body had not made any alternate arrangements.

No tanker was being sent to them despite the repeated requests to the councillor.

Residents of ward number 42 also complained that they were suffering due to shortage of water. While staging a protest here, the residents said due to unscheduled power cuts, the tubewells could not work and the water could not be supplied.

Area councillor Satwinder Singh Jwaddi demanded that the power cuts should be scheduled and every area should be informed about the time so that the tubewells could be operated during the supply hours and residents did not suffer.

Residents of Naali Mohalla also claimed that there was no water supply to their area. They said though they were being supplied water from tankers but this was not enough to suffice the needs of residents. They demanded that the snag be rectified as soon as possible.

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MC to run tubewells for additional time
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 12
After cries of water shortage from several parts of the city, the Municipal Corporation today ordered the tubewell operators to run the pumps for additional time to fulfil the water needs of different area residents.

While urging the residents to bear with the situation, a communique by the Commissioner said that as many as 450 tubewells were being operated by the civic body to cater to the needs of city residents but at times due to snag developed in power supply lines, the residents had to face scarcity of water.

The MC staff was on its toes to rectify the problems and repairing faulty tubewells on priority.

The Commissioner said that only yesterday, 12 tubewells broke down due and 10 were repaired by the staff within 24 hours. The rest were also being repaired.

He also asked the residents to save every drop of water and refrain from wasting it. He also asked them not to use tullu pumps on direct supply lines and not to water lawns and wash cars for the time being.

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BSNL employees up in arms
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 12
In response to a call given by the Central Public Undertaking Trade Union, employees of the BSNL held a day-long dharna to press their long-pending demands.
Activists of the BSNL Employees Union (BSNLEU) called upon the government to initiate wage negotiations with a tenure of five years without any delay, bridge the gap between pay and other benefits of workers and officers, formulate policies for grant of annual increment as percentage of wages, wage revision for sick PSUs and their revival.

Trade union leaders further demanded wage revision for contractual workers, merger of 50 per cent DA with pay from April, 2004, filling of all vacant posts and concede other pending demands of the employees.

Addressing the agitating workers, circle secretary of the union Balbir Singh announced that similar protest dharnas were being organised all over the state, as also in other parts of the country. He castigated the BSNL management for failure to start wage negotiations which was causing widespread resentment among the employees.

"The next wage revision is due but the management is sleeping over the burning issue. Similarly, the DA in public sector has increased to 70.2 points which merits a merger with the salary."

District secretary of the BSNLEU Balwinder Singh said the department had issued certain guidelines for the wage negotiations in public sector undertakings, laying down a 10-year tenure for the agreement, which was not acceptable to the trade unions.

In the interest of the employees, the tenure of agreement for wage negotiations should be five years, he added.

Among other speakers at the rally were Hari Narayan Singh, organising secretary, Sikander Singh, treasurer of Punjab Circle of the BSNLEU, Avtar Singh Jhande, Amarjit Chander, Mohinder Choudhary, Daulat Singh, Sudesh Joshi, Jaswant Singh, Shingara Singh, Kirpa Ram, Budh Singh and Paramjit Singh.

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‘Cashless’ treatment for ex-servicemen at Apollo
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 12
The SPS Apollo Hospitals entered into an arrangement with the Army authorities to provide “cashless” treatment to ex-servicemen and their dependents here today under the Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS), a major welfare scheme, launched by the government of India.

Brig Rajiv Bhatia, station commander at Ludhiana, today signed a memorandum of agreement with the SPS Apollo Hospital management for extending this facility to the beneficiaries of ECHS.

After putting down his signatures on the MoU, the station commander inaugurated an ECHS cell at the hospital, while also reviewing the state of preparedness of the hospital in handling the patients.

Speaking on the occasion, Bhatia said there was no better welfare scheme than taking care of the medical requirement of the serving and retired personnel. This scheme (ECHS) was a social security with a difference and among the best schemes available for ex-servicemen.

According to col Sanjay Tripathi, this scheme covered retired personnel of all the three wings of the armed forces, registered for the ECHS, as also widows and dependents of ex-servicemen.

Director of the hospital, Jugdiep Singh, said the hospital had prepared itself to deal with the load of patients under this scheme. A separate ECHS cell had been set up to cater to the patients, guides had been deputed to assist the patients and take proper care of them. He added that a system had been devised in such a way that there would be minimum waiting time for the patients.

“The tie-up was a longstanding demand of ex-servicemen, who wanted a corporate, multi-speciality hospital for treatment in Punjab. We have given an internationally accredited hospital to the service of the soldiers who had contributed the prime of their youth in the service of the nation,” said the director.

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Social bodies urged to fight drug menace
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 12
Terming drug addiction to be the root cause of other crimes, the Khanna SSP has called upon office-bearers of various social and religious organisations of the area to join hands with the administration against the menace.

The call came after the arrest of a barber and a cable operator who had been supplying the contraband to youths.

Ten grams of the narcotics and psychotropic drugs were seized from the accused.

The SSP alleged that a group of drug peddlers had been supplying drugs to the youths in the area.

He claimed that the network of smugglers and addicts could not be smashed without cooperation of leaders.

“As most police officials are from outside areas, they do not have sufficient knowledge about antecedents of the suspects,” he claimed.

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AIDS awareness ‘vital to prevent spread’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 12
Dr H.S.Grewal, Dean, School of Business in Claflin University, U.S.A., today said that only prevention and enlightenment can check the spread of a deadly disease like AIDS.

He was speaking at a two-day training programme under 'Culturally Sensitive HIV/AIDS Prevention, Intervention, Reduction, Training Project in India'. The training programme is being conducted at PAU.

Echoing the views that 'a healthy mind resides in a healthy body', Dr Grewal said sometimes recklessness regarding health could prove detrimental to one's life.

He said that in addition to caring for one's health, one should also work for the betterment of others.

Interacting with the members of the programme, he discussed the training modules, causes and symptoms of the disease along with methods of its prevention.

Dr K.S.Verma, Project Coordinator at PAU, informed about various activities being carried out for AIDS awareness.

He said that rallies were conducted in three adopted villages and the campus for the purpose.Besides this, a quiz contest, poster-making competitions and skits were used as a means to spread the awareness. Printed literature was also distributed amongst the people.

Dr M.S.Kang, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, expressed satisfaction over the working of the project and assured help in its future endeavours.

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‘Check exploitation of safai karamcharis’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 12
The chairperson, National Commission for Safaai Karamcharis, Santosh Chowdhary, stressed upon the need to completely check the exploitation of safai karamcharis/scavengers and to create awareness among them about their rights as per the latest amendment of the Minimum Wages Act, 1936.

She was addressing a meeting of the officers and representatives of scavengers/safai karamcharis at the Circuit House here today. She also held a meeting with safai karamcharis to listen to their problems.

The condition of scavengers/safai karamcharis was very pitiable as most of them were not even aware of their actual salaries and were not supplied with the salary slips.

She said it was most unfortunate that this section of the society cleans the city and towns and our surroundings, but their own families were facing serious financial constraints and were unable to educate their children.

Chowdhary said the union government had fixed March, 2009 as the limit to completely eradicate scavenging from the society and to rehabilitate such families, funds amounting to Rs 700 crore have been earmarked for this purpose.

She said the local municipal corporation has done a good job to sort out their problems.

She further said the sewer men were facing serious threat to their lives while cleaning the sewerage lanes and asked the civic authorities to provide security kits to them.

A large members of these poor families were suffering from serious diseases like tuberculosis, asthma and were unable to bear the cost of treatment.

She also told the authorities to give suitable medical facilities and education.

Vikas Partap Singh, commissioner, assured her that special attention would be provided to clear the dues of scavengers/safai karamcharis and to provide them with other facilities.

Others who spoke on the occasion includeded Pryank Bharti, acting deputy commissioner, Vijay Danav, Laxman Dravid, Ashwani Sahota, Yash Pal Chowdhary, Kala Hans and Sudesh Gharu.

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Disinvestment
LSE to complete process by Sept 14
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 12
The Ludhiana Stock Exchange (LSE) will complete the process of disinvestment of its stake by September 14.

According to H.S Sidhu, managing director, the governing board of the exchange had earlier constituted a five- member Disinvestment Committee that was broadbased to 15 members by the board in its meeting held on June 4 to have better views and discussions on the subject.

This committee has been meeting frequently to explore various options for successfully implementing the demutualisation scheme.

The committee in its recent meeting approved draft advertisement for 51 per cent disinvestment in terms of the demutualisation scheme approved by SEBI.

The exchange is releasing the advertisement in all major national and regional dailies soon, he added.

In terms of SEBI guidelines on disinvestment, a strategic/individual investor should not be a shareholder of LSE having trading rights. Persons/entities interested can bid either collectively or individually subject to the prior approval of SEBI and subject to maximum ceiling of 5 per cent for one sing entity/bidder.

The committee has also decided to appoint an adviser for assisting in smooth implementation of the scheme and finding suitable strategic partners. The exchange has appointed Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu as its valuer, he said.

The valuation of the exchange is likely to be completed soon and the exchange is hopeful of finding suitable investors for offloading its share, he informed.

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