L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Acid Attack
Victim succumbs to burns after 3 months
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 28
After nearly three months of suffering and pain, Sandeep Kaur, the main victim of the infamous acid attack by a spurned lover, succumbed to her burns in hospital late last night.

Her body was consigned to the flames near Tajpur road this afternoon amidst heart-rending scenes with her parents and relatives wailing inconsolably. Sandeep had earlier been responding well to the treatment.

Sandeep’s alleged spurned lover Baljit had thrown acid on her and three other girls on the evening of April 1. Sandeep was the worst affected and had lost an eye and an ear.

Her close friend Rajwant Kaur had nearly lost her eyesight. The other two girls, Sonika and Ranjit Kaur, had suffered less than 40 per cent burns and were discharged from the hospital last month.

Family sources informed that Sandeep had developed some complications last night and later died.

Police sources said the FIR against accused Baljit Singh would now be amended to book him for murder. The accused had already been arrested. He had claimed that he had an affair with Sandeep but her parents were marrying her off to someone else.

In an interview earlier, Sandeep had demanded exemplary punishment for the accused.“Now, I believe in an eye-for-an-eye law of justice. If this country wants to give me justice, it should allow me to throw acid on the accused in full public view, at the same place and same time,” a bitter Sandeep Kaur had said.

“What was my fault? Only that I declined his proposal?” an ailing Sandeep had asked while awaiting justice before her death.



Low-lying, posh areas worst affected
Downpour leaves city roads waterlogged
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 28
An hour of downpour today morning left many city roads waterlogged. All low-lying areas and a few posh areas of the city were inundated throwing the normal life out of gear for quite some time.

The rains that started during office hours caught a large number commuters unaware whose vehicles broke down in the middle of flooded roads. A few low plinth houses were also flooded and residents had faced difficulty in manually draining out the water.

The water-logging exposed the tall claims of civic body officials who had been claiming that the storm water sewerage system worth lakhs of rupees would take care of the flood water.

A few residents had to wade through the knee-deep water at several places as it took quite some time for water to drain out. Areas like the Rani Jhansi Road, Kochar Market, Haibowal, Durga Puri, Model Gram and Feroze Gandhi Market were the worst affected.

People living in the Brown Road had a hard time when sewer water entered their houses. They staged a dharna against the municipal corporation. According to them, the sewerage system of the area has got blocked for the past few days. They alleged that had municipal corporation listened to their complaints they would have been saved from such an harrowing experience.

They said at least 4 to 5 feet deep water had got accumulated inside their houses and they had to drain it out manually, a few worms were also seen crawling on their floors. ‘‘We really had a horrible day. Our children are already suffering from diarrhea due to this,” said a resident.

“We tried to contact civic officials and the area councillor. An executive engineer and a SDO reached the spot but the junior engineer failed to turn up. Even calls made by the executive engineer failed to bring him here, they alleged.

In other parts of the city, workers could be seen draining out the water by opening manholes and clearing the garbage. In old city, shopkeepers and residents were seen helping municipal workers in clearing the water.

The posh Feroze Gandhi market parking was also denuded and all cars parked there were under water. The parking lot of the improvement trust office also remained waterlogged.

Residents of a few areas, including Civil Lines, Green Field, Shastri Nagar, Cheema Chowk, Dholewal Chowk, said the rain water also entered their houses and they had to drain it with the help of buckets.

Commuters, especially women, had a tough time traversing through the water-logged roads.

A number of scooterists were seen standing amidst water after their vehicles broke down.



Distributors’ decision to stop home delivery of cylinders
Consumer Association seeks PM’s intervention
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 28
Anticipating the immense inconvenience to be faced by people across the state following the decision by the distributors of not supplying gas cylinders at the consumers doorstep from July 2 onwards, the Ludhiana Cooking Gas Consumers Association has sought the intervention of the Prime Minister (PM) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister to take immediate steps to solve this problem.

In a letter to the PM, the association has said that the arbitrary step by about 400 distributors of Punjab was anti people and would cause untold hardship to the people. If the decision is implemented it would be adieu to the delivery boys and back to the old time consuming practise of queueing up at the respective godowns of the distributors for a refill. The plight of the elderly and handicapped could be well imagined in such a scenario.

Talking to TNS, CS Ahuja, president of the association, said that it was akin to holding the people to ransom for getting some trivial issues solved. The distributors are not supposed to and have no right to take such an unilateral and drastic action directly effecting lakhs of domestic consumers in the cities and the countryside.

He said the distributors are only the supplying agencies appointed by the oil companies on commission basis and are earning a very handsome commission, Rs 16 per gas cylinder, on every cylinder delivered at the consumers doorstep.

No one is denying that the reason for such a decision could be disputes between the distributors and the oil companies. But to take such an action, leaving aside the interests of its consumers, was against the principles of natural justice, Ahuja pointed out.

He added that the distributors tend to put all the blame on the delivery boys for all complaints by the consumers.

To blame the delivery boys for all ills’ in the system right from supplying underweight cylinders, rude behaviour and allegations of over charging by them is not acceptable. It is common knowledge that every time short weight cylinders are detected from the godowns during surprise checks by the oil companies, pointed out Ahuja.

In fact, the distributors don’t pay proper cartage to the delivery boys who sometimes resort to some malpractices like overcharging but to blame the latter is also wrong. It is common knowledge that many of the distributors pay a very meagre amount and encourage the delivery men to collect Rs 10 to Rs 15 from the consumers, alleged Ahuja.

Listing on the effects if the decision taken is practised Ahuja said, the delivery rebate of Rs 8 to be refunded to the consumer will not offset the harassment which the people will face at the godowns. The alternative suggested by the distributors federation of issuing cylinders from the godowns is neither valid under the agreement between the oil companies and the distributors but is also illegal, he added. He also urged the state government to take action against such distributors by invoking the relevant sections of the law so that the common man could keep his gas stove burning.



Farmers’ suicides
BKU disputes Badal ‘s statistics
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 28
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (Lakhowal) today disputed the claims of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal that only 11 farmers had committed suicide between January 1 and June 23, 2007. The union said about 80 farmers had committed suicide during this period.

Reacting to the reply given by the Chief Minister to a question raised in the state legislature recently, BKU general secretary Bhupinder Singh Maheshari said the newspapers had reported 21 suicides by farmers between June 1 and 27, while Badal was claiming that only 11 suicides were reported since January 1.

The BKU leader said the Badal government was repeating the mistake committed by the previous government by playing down the issue. He said, since the Congress government had failed to put up an accurate and strong case with the Centre, no relief was granted to Punjab on the pattern of Mahashtra and Andhra Pradesh.

Interestingly, the BKU, led by Ajmer Singh Lakhowal had supported Badal in the last assembly elections. Lakhowal was appointed chairman of the Punjab Mandi Board by Badal. The union has always advocated the cause of the farmers and had supported Badal as it felt that the previous government had not done anything for them.

Maheshari observed that the Badal government did not appear to be serious on the issue. He said Badal had probably been provided wrong information by the officials about the farmers' suicides in the state. He said Badal must get the suicide cases surveyed and investigated to prepare accurate data. Only then can the state put up its case strongly with the Centre.

The BKU reiterated its demand for providing Rs 10 lakh compensation to the families of the farmers who had committed suicide and also ensure that at least one member got a government job. He said special measures needed to be initiated to ensure that the farmers were not driven to desperate steps.



Tributes paid to Kargil war hero
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 28
Tributes were paid to martyr Capt Vijayant Thapar, VC, who had made the supreme sacrifice in the Kargil War , on his 8th martyrdom at Samadhi Shree Baba Gajjuji Thapar Memorial at Gurdev Nagar here.

A large hall named after the martyr was inaugurated by his father Col B.N Thapar.The family has a long history of serving the nation with three generations serving the armed forces.

Capt Vijayant was posthumously awarded the Vir Chakra for his heroism.He had taken on the enemy and shot down many before a bullet pierced his forehead.



Saint Kabir
Preparations to celebrate 609th anniversary
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 28
Preparations are on in full swing for the celebrations of the 609th birth anniversary of Bhagat Kabir to be organised here on June 30.

A meeting of various organisations and civil servants to finalise the details of the programme was presided over by Harish Rai Dhanda, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Local Bodies, here today.

The CPS informed that the function would be held at Jawahar Nagar (near Hanuman Janjghar) at 7 p.m. and Bikram Singh Majithia, minister for information and public relations, water supply and sanitation, would be the chief guest while Dhanda would preside over the event.

In the morning, a seminar on the philosophy and poetic creations (bani) of the great sage will be organised from 10 a.m. onwards where a number of renowned scholars, including Dr Satinder Singh Noor, Dr Jagveer Singh, Dr S. Tarsem, Amarjit Singh Grewal, Sukhdev Singh Sarsa and Giani Dharamvir Singh would speak. Bhagat Chuni Dass, MLA, Jalandhar( South) would be the chief guest.

Pryank Bharti, officiating deputy commissioner, along with the officers of departments concerned visited the venue to assign the duties for the arrangement of the function.

He asked the officials of the Municipal Corporation to ensure proper cleanliness in and around the site and told the District Mandi Officer to make sufficient arrangements for drinking water for the public. A suitable pandal was being erected and the venue would be properly decorated. Bhajan mandlies would present a programme based upon the Gurbani created by Bhagat Kabir on the function.



Banker’s honesty impresses customer
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 28
Appreciating the honesty of Gurmit Singh, cashier at local branch of Punjab and Sindh Bank, Raj Kumar Sharma, a customer of the branch, has impressed upon the higher authorities to recognise the fomer’s integrity.

Sharma told the Ludhiana Tribune that the cashier had exhibited an act of extraordinary honesty by returning Rs 5,000 that had been deposited in excess by him yesterday.

“Though we had no idea about the number of notes deposited in the bank, Gurmit Singh found at the time of closing cash that an amount of Rs 5,000 had been deposited extra,” said Sharma, adding that the cashier had returned huge amounts to the customers in the past also.



Road widening at the cost of trees
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 28
With the development versus environment debate going on unabated, the Punjab Roads and Bridges Development Board (PRBDB) has started the process of widening of the Ludhiana-Sangrur road as per the original plan, against which a number of social leaders and environmentalists had raised their voice.

Besides affecting the environment, felling of trees on both sides of the road might cause some irreparable damages and leave this agricultural region poorer as far as its tree cover is concerned.

Though the authorities claim to have taken permission for felling trees, including the state tree shisham, the number of trees facing the axe appears to be much larger than what was brought into the notice of ecological experts. Lack of monitoring might also cause loss of exchequer to the state as loads of cut trees might be stolen.

Investigations by the Ludhiana Tribune revealed that trees were being felled at a very high speed but the officials responsible for keeping a record of the axed trees were conspicuous by their absence. “We are here to cut and load the logs in vehicles. We do not know who supervises the process,” responded one of the labourers who were loading logs in a trailer near Gopalpur village today.

Environmentalist and office bearers of eco clubs of the area rued that the authorities had ignored the suggestions given prior to the finalisation of the project.

Referring to the discussions during a meeting held at Guru Nanak Engineering College before finalisation of the project, Jatinder Kumar Bhola, president, municipal council, Ahmedgarh, claimed that a number of sarpanches, panches and office bearers of certain social organisations had impressed upon the authorities to review the project so that trees on at least one side of the road could be saved from axing. “When the government was to acquire land, it could have done so, on one side of the road instead of ruining the green cover on both the sides," argued Bhola.

Residents of Sarinh, Kaind, Gopalpur, Lehra, Phalewal, Kup Kalan and Bhogiwal villages had also sought the review of the plan but the sequence of meetings proved futile as no importance was given to the suggestions of the public.



SAD leader distributes cheques
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobingarh, June 28
The SAD-BJP government will be concentrating on the development of the state, said Randhir Singh Bhambri, a senior Akali leader.

Speaking at a cheque distribution function here yesterday, Bhambri said, “The government is determined to continue development projects in state and funds required for it will be readily available.”

He gave a cheque of Rs 2 lakh for work at Ladpur,Rs 1 lakh for Majri, Rs 1 lakh for Sant Nagar and Rs 2 lakh for Bhambri village.

Criticising the Congress, Bhambri said the party had always adopted the policy of divide and rule, whenever it came to power. He added that now conflicts were increasing among the leaders of the party.

Director cooperative agriculture society Jasrhan Jagdeep Singh, Balwant Singh and members of the panchayts were were at the function.



Tantrik booked for duping man, wife
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 28
The Khanna police has booked a tantrik for allegedly duping a resident of Ajnali village near here on pretext of performing miraculous acts for getting his wife released from the influence of her paramour. The lover of the woman was also arrested but later released on bail.

The alleged prudery of the profane was exposed when, the victim who had parted with thousands of rupees caught his wife and her suspected lover; receiving similar remedy from the tantrik, obviously to distant him ( the victim ) from woman’s life.

According to Khanna SSP Khanna, Mooman of Muzzafar Nagar had been booked for allegedly duping Gulzar Singh of Ajnali village of thousands of rupees on the pretext of performing certain rites that according to the suspect would bring harmony in his family.

“The suspect went to the extent of deluding Gulzar’s wife who had fallen prey to another youth. Though, we are yet to ascertain the amount of money extracted from the woman and her paramour, it is suspected that they could have spent even more than the complainant,” the SSP said.

Preliminary investigations revealed that Gulzar Singh had been living happily with his wife. Last year, she developed an illicit relationship with Raja Ram, son of Sadhu Singh of Bara village near Sirhind.

"When I saw my wife roaming with Raja Ram at a shopping complex in the town about two months ago I became upset and narrated the entire story to Mooman. He assured me that he will set every thing right if I could spend some money on a few religious rites," Gulzar Singh told investigating team. He alleged that the suspect had extorted more than Rs 5,000 from him on one pretext or another.

Gulzar could have continued parting with more amounts had he not found a slip of the same tantrik in his wife’s purse. This made him suspicious about genuineness of the tantrik after which he decided to find out the truth.

"Yesterday I followed my wife to the tantrik’s office and found out that he was performing a few rituals to distance me from her life. Raja Ram, the suspected lover of my wife was also present there," Gulzar told the police.

Investigations further revealed that Gulzar Singh had lost temper on seeing his wife with her lover and had manhandled her and the lover in full public view.



Judicial remand for 4 till July 10
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, June 28
Kulwant Singh of Chuharchak, Balwant Singh of Rasulpur, Balwinder Singh of Jhoraran and Shamsher Singh of Dangian were today remanded in judicial custody till July 10 by Gurdarshan Kaur, SDJM, Jagraon.

The local police had arrested Kulwant Singh, Balwant Singh and Balwinder Singh near the Canal Bridge, Dangian, on June 25 when they were allegedly bringing 10 bags containing 400 kg of poppy husk in a tanker owned by Pal Singh. Later, the police arrested Shamsher Singh Dangian on the statement of the three. During investigation, they said the narcotics was to be delivered to Pal Singh who was to sell the same under the supervision of Shamsher Singh.

Cops booked for breach of trust

An Assistant Sub-Inspector and a constable have been booked by the Dehlon police under Section 409 of the IPC for the breach of trust. According to information, AK-47 rifles were issued to ASI Mohan Chander and constable Saminder Singh about 17 years ago. The duo did not return the same to the police authority concerned. Of the two, Saminder Singh has already died. The case was registered after an inquiry, but no arrest has been made so far.

Five booked for assault

In two separate incidents,the Sudhar and Dehlon police has booked five persons on a charge of assault. In the first case, Charanjit Singh, Sukhwinder Singh and Pal Singh of Rattna allegedly assaulted Jarnail Singh of their village with weapons. The Sudhar police has registered a case under Section 325, 323, 34 of the IPC. Old enmity is said to be the cause.

In the other,a man and his son were booked under Section 324, 34 of IPC by the Dehlon police wherein Kuldeep Singh and his father Tarsem Singh of Saian Khurd allegedly assaulted Bhagwant Singh of their village with a spade.The injured has been admitted to the civil hospital, Ludhiana. A dispute over money is said to be cause.



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