L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Woman hires contract killers to evict tenants
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 9
In a rare case of hiring contract killers to evict tenants from a house having high property value, a woman, owner of a school in Shastri Nagar, allegedly connived with the husband of a school maid and gave a supari of Rs 5.50 lakh to murder two brothers living as tenants in her house.

Normally, contract killers are used in hate, vengeance and honour killings or to usurp property of a close relative. But this is a rare case where such a heavy "supari" was given just to throw out tenants from a property, whose value was appreciating rapidly.

The two brothers Amandeep Singh and Jandeep Singh, miraculously survived the murderous attack on April 13. They were seriously wounded with blunt and sharp edged weapons and are still under treatment.

SP (City-I) Sukhchain Singh told mediapersons that subsequent police investigation unearthed the plan of contract killing. Three persons, including Tejinder Kaur Grewal, owner of Blossoms High School, Shastri Market, Bhagwan Dass (husband of the school maid) and Sanjeev Kumar of Haibowal Kalan, have been nabbed.

The alleged contract killer Apninder Singh, alias Raju Sapera, and other accused Raghvir Singh, Suresh Kumar and Surinder Gogna were absconding. The police officials informed that Raju Sapera was earlier also involved in contract killings.

The officials said the sole motive of the crime was to force the brothers to vacate the house. They were tenants in House no 18-B, Shastri Nagar, owned by Grewal. They had a long dispute over vacating the house. The police said the woman hatched the conspiracy to get them killed to get her house back after all other efforts failed.

The contract killer allegedly sought an amount of Rs 20 lakh for killing the two persons. Later, a deal was finalised at Rs 5.50 lakh. The woman paid Rs 2.50 lakh in advance. The police has recovered Rs 20,000 from the accused arrested with her.

The market price of the house was about Rs 1 crore. The police said the woman wanted to sell the house but the tenants were a big hurdle in the way. She spent the money as an investment in making huge profit later on by selling the property.



Man murders wife, mother-in-law
Innocence bludgeoned
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 9
Two-year-old Mona and her 20-day-old sister are too young to understand the magnitude of the tragedy that has struck them. The two have lost their mother and maternal grandmother and their father is on the run after killing the two women.

Virtually orphaned at a tender age, the girls may never actually understand what made their father allegedly club their mother and grandmother to death with the handle of a handpump.

Their father, Kuldip Singh, a factory worker, allegedly killed his wife, Anuradha, and mother-in-law, Soma Devi, in his house last evening. He was allegedly upset at the visit of his mother-in-law to his house. As he did’nt have cordial relations with his in-laws he objected to their visits.

Even as the city police has launched a massive manhunt for the arrest of the accused, Kuldip Singh besides putting pressure on his relatives to make him surrender, there is a big question mark over the future of the two girls.

The aged mother of the accused is the only person left to take care of them. But she too is plagued with old age related disease and has no means to earn a living. The girls are being looked after the neighbours at present. Police sources said this was just a temporary arrangement.

According to the police Kuldip Singh and his wife had a bitter quarrel last year also. They came on the verge of separation and filed complaints against each other at the Marital Disputes Cell. The cell officials, however, succeeded in effecting a compromise between the two. Sources said Kuldip Singh maintained that his mother-in-law interfered in their life and caused trouble.

But both seemed to be happy after that as suggested by the birth of the second daughter. However, yesterday Soma Devi visited her daughter in the absence of her son-in-law. This led to an altercation between the couple as Kuldip Singh reached the house before his scheduled time.

Sources said the mother-in-law said something to him at which he hit her with the handle of a hand pump. He also hit his wife when she tried to intervene and save her mother.

Bodies of both the women were found on the floor in a pool of blood. Kuldip Singh, however, fled from the spot. The alleged murder took place in front of the two children.



Police foils midnight land grab attempt
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 9
The city police successfully prevented a group of over 50 persons from allegedly occupying a prime piece of land in Dugri opposite Fauji Dhaba last midnight. The police responded promptly to the SOS calls of Dinesh Beri, who claims to be the owner of the land.

On his complainant, Model Town police has booked three persons, Bhagwant Singh, Gurtej Singh and Mushtaq Mohammad. The FIR said they along with 50-60 other persons reached the said plot with construction material even as a police inquiry was on to find out the actual owner of the property.

Dinesh Beri said he was the actual owner and was present at the place when he heard the noises. He saw the large group of ‘land grabbers’ and called up senior officials who sent police force and forced the land grabbers to flee.



Suspected dengue case comes to light
Gastro gets a buddy
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 9
While the district health administration is finding it hard to cope with the gastro cases being reported owing to the contaminated water supply, a suspected case of dengue has come to light even as the authorities has refused to confirm it stating that they were awaiting report from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD).

Doctors at local Toor Hospital confirmed yesterday that they had received a case of dengue from Jassian Road and as per the rapid kit test, he had tested positive for the disease. They had claimed that patient Buta Singh was recuperating at the hospital.

Claims of the hospital caused a furore in the health department today as the Civil Surgeon, Dr S.S. Dhir, said unless they received the confirmation report from the NICD, they would not admit that dengue was reported from the city.

Dr Dhir further said they tested his blood samples twice and once the report confirmed dengue and second time it tested negative for the mosquito-borne disease. ‘‘The final confirmation will come from the NICD now. There is nothing to panic for residents. Meanwhile, they should start taking precautionary measures and have to be careful, ’’ said Dr Dhir.



Fly ash puts industry in trouble
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 7
Dumping of fly ash in parks and green belts is causing problems for hundreds of industrial units here. Not only are more than 1,500 industrial units in Focal Point suffering due to frequent sewerage blockage, cycle and cycle-parts manufacturers are also troubled on account of poor finishing quality of products due to fly ash.

Fly ash, which is the residue of rice husk, is used as a fuel by several industrial units and is posing problems for other industries.

Hundreds of units in this area, that have taken up the issue time and again with the authorities, said industry would be rendered uncompetitive due to this problem if the matter is not resolved on priority basis. Over 70 per cent of the units in this area belong to cycle parts manufacturers who have been insisting on the need to resolve it at the earliest.

“Most of the units that use rice husk as fuel are engaged in textile related operations, like dyeing. We took up the matter with Industry but they only gave lame excuses. They said their treatment plant was getting ready but they have not put an end to the problem so far. It is the cycle and cycle-parts manufacturing units, which are suffering the most as a result,” said Pradeep Wadhawan, secretary, United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association.

Sewerage choking affects smooth functioning of the units. Besides, due to fly ash the finishing of products is not so good.

“It renders units uncompetitive and they are not able to get the price that they can otherwise. A few have even reported loss of orders,” said an industrialist.

Problems for Industry do not end at this. The health of industrial workers too is getting affected. “Workers frequently fall ill and develop respiratory problems and diseases related to eyes. That adds to our woes.”

High pollution apart, the absence of cleanliness also affects the image of Industry.

Exporters and outside visitors do not carry a very positive picture when they see such problems existing in industry here, industrialists added.

Industry has also urged the Municipal Corporation to take measures to resolve the problem.



Power theft: PSEB decides to act tough
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 9
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has decided to act tough against the electricity theft. The PSEB has also got full support from the Chief Minister, who has made it clear that no concession should be allowed in cases of theft.

PSEB chief engineer B.S. Bath told The Tribune that although the state had reduced the transmission losses to 23 per cent, which was quite satisfactory as compared to other states, but there was still a long way to go. He said there were clear instructions that the theft cases should be dealt with firmly.

He pointed out even the Chief Minister, while inaugurating a 66 KV substation at Machhiwara on Saturday, appealed to the people to ensure that they paid the tariff for the electricity and there was no theft. He warned that the government would not let any relaxation in the theft cases.

The 23 per cent transmission losses were mainly attributed to the pilferage. Although some electricity was lost in transmission, most of it was caused by the pilferage at different stages. The PSEB had decided to reduce these losses as this could also help in improving the power situation in the state.

Bath disclosed that the PSEB had started installing the electricity meters outside the houses of the consumers. He said even his own meter had been installed on the electricity poll. This would be followed up with the PSEB employees. "Once we in PSEB do it ourselves, others will definitely follow without any resistance", he pointed out.

He also allayed the fears of consumers that the meters might get damaged and they might have to pay heavy penalty for the "tampering".

Bath said the meters were developed using best technology and these could not be damaged or tampered with easily. He said even if there was any damage caused by some other reasons, this would be ascertained in the laboratory and the onus would not be necessarily on the consumers.

He maintained that the power supply had remained adequate so far and hoped it would continue to remain so. He said people had been cooperative. It was not only the pilferage, but also the judicious use of electricity could save a lot of energy.



Honesty pays
CM appoints Sharma as sub-registrar
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 9
Nice guys don’t necessarily finish second. Mukesh Kumar Sharma, posted as naib tehsildar, Mullanpur Dakha, near here has proved it so. Known in the official circles as “scrupulously honest”, the acknowledgement for his honesty came a bit late. But, he has no regrets. “Der aayad, drust aayad”, (better late than never), remarks Sharma while recalling the struggling period of his life.

Rewarded by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for his honesty, Sharma maintains that it was not that he had to struggle for being honest, but because others were not fair with him. He thinks he has not done anything unusual. “I think I have simply done my job the way I should”, a modest Sharma remarks while asking, “what is so outstanding about it...Aren't we supposed to be honest?”

Modesty apart, Sharma has proved to be honest by choice and not because he didn’t get any chance to be dishonest. Being a sub-registrar he could have earned lakhs of rupees every month, as is the practice in the revenue department. And probably this explains the character of the man.

He was appointed kanungo in 1991 and as naib tehsildar in 1992. In 1996 he was due to be promoted as tehsildar. However, he was superseded by a junior. He made representations to the department head and also won the case in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. However, till now he continues to work as naib tehsildar. He moved the court to make his point. Although, he tried hard to ensure that the court orders were implemented, but he found that people were indifferent.

But today, he feels that his principles have been worth struggle. He is being appointed as sub-registrar for the city (West), considered to be the “prize posting” in the revenue department for obvious reasons as the real estate deals that are registered there run into crores. “I thank the Chief Minister for acknowledging my honesty and reposing trust in me”, he added.

A large number of people came with bouquets and sweets to his office at Mullanpur Dakha today. “That is all he accepts”, remarked former sarpanch Kuldeep Singh Sekhon. He kept flowers, but distributed sweets among the staff and those who had come to meet him.

Sharma, who doesn’t own a car, comes to the office in Mullanpur from the city on a bus. “I feel privileged that I have been independent throughout my life”, he remarked, when asked as how he feels when his colleagues maintain a lavish life style. He says he has been lucky to get a supportive wife and children who are content with what they have got.

Yet, this man felt cheated and upset when he was denied his rightful due. Sometimes he reminds himself, “gham ki andheri raat mein, dil ko na be karar karr. Subah zaroor ayegi, subah ka intizar karr...”.



Sisters end lives by jumping into canal
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 9
Two daughters of a marginal farmer of nearby Maholi Khurad village allegedly ended their lives by jumping into Bathinda branch of Sirhind Canal in the presence of several passersby and some vendors yesterday.

While the body of one of the girls was later fished out from the canal from near the bridge, the relatives were still looking for the second body.

Though the news of the incident had spread like a wildfire in the area by yesterday evening, the police was yet to initiate action in the case.

Sources at Mahauli Khurad revealed that Simrat Kaur and Gurleen (names changed) daughters of Zora Singh, a marginal farmer of the village, had jumped into Bathinda branch of Sirhind Canal near Kalyan bridge yesterday afternoon.

The girls had reportedly covered a distance of more than one kilometer and had stayed at the village for sufficiently long time. They had reportedly embraced each other before jumping into the canal. Though some passersby and owners of vends and shops on the bridge had sensed something strange but none of them bothered to stop them from taking such a drastic step.

Investigations by the Ludhiana Tribune revealed that the family of the deceased had been passing through a bad phase for a long time. Though Zora had been running a small grocery store from his home to supplement his income from meager land holding of 1.5 bighas, economic condition of the family remained poor as a major portion of the income was spent on the treatment of the mother of the girls.

While Zora Singh’s wife was confined to bed due to some mysterious disease his brother was blind besides being mentally challenged. It is reported that Zora Singh had gone to fetch medicine for his wife when the girls took this drastic step.

While unfavourable family circumstances were presumed to be the main reason for the disappointment of the girls, some outside factor can also not be ruled out. Zora Singh had three daughters and a son.

Showing ignorance about the sequence of events Maghar Singh, SHO, Sadar, said the police could not initiate action without the any complaint from the family. "Though normally police can take note of any unnatural death or an accident, we did not deem it fit to disturb the grief stricken family. However, we will do the needful whenever we are asked to do so," he said.



Family seeks protection
Threat of being dispossessed from house
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, July 9
Jaswinder Singh of this district in his representations to the Chief Minister, district police chief, DGP, Punjab Human Rights Commission, and IG (crime branch) has urged them to save his family from forcible dispossession from house No. 532, Sector 3, Batan Lal Road, illegally. He had been living in the house for the past 32 years. He earns his livelihood by running a PCO in the front portion of his residential accommodation where his wife and a 15 months old girl child reside.

Jaswinder Singh had filed a civil suit on April 9 in the court of Additional Civil Judge (Senior Division), Amloh, for permanent injunction restraining the defendant from dispossessing the plaintiff from the room in his possession. The application was disposed of on June 4 by the court with a directions to respondent not to dispossess the applicant from the suit property illegally and forcibally otherwise than in due course of the law.

The applicant has filed a suit against his father who disposed him of the entire building, including the portion in possession of his son, to an influential party which allegedly threatens to dispossess him from the house.

He has alleged in his complaints that the party which purchased the property is very influential and have been threatening him to throw out his belongings. The party has blocked a part of the entry gate to stop the entry of motor cycle in the house and have blocked toilets with bricks. Even the water supply has been stopped. He has urged the government to intervene and save his family.



Welfare of Child Labourers
‘Impose cess on those visiting Taj’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 9
Organising secretary of the human touch association B.B. Goyal has urged the Central and the state governments to impose cess on those visiting the Taj and the funds thus collected should be spent on the welfare of the child labourers all over the country.

Taj Mahal and its history have always spurred the sensitive minds of poets and writers. Prominent Urdu poet Sahir Ludhianvi wrote: “Ik shahanshah ne daulat ka sahara le kar ham garibon ki mohabbat kaa udaayaa hai mazaak” (an emperor has insulted the love of poor by spending a large amount of money). Moreover, the emperor Shahjahan who built the Taj in memory of his beloved got the hands of those who constructed it chopped so that they won’t be able to construct a marvel similar to the Taj. Thus, collection of cess from those visiting the Taj will be a befitting tribute to them.

A city-based poet Mohan Singh wrote,” Ki eh Taj, Taj hai sachh muchh jaan unj hi chhalda. Lakh gareeb majduran de hanjuaan te joh palda" (Is this Taj a real crown or just a mirage which cheats the millions of poor labourers who weep in poverty while Taj smiles in its glory).



Bally Sagoo enthralls
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 9
Bally Sagoo enthralled the audience at the Satluj Club with his foot-tapping numbers on Saturday night. He came to the city on the invitation of “DYC” and the event was the part of the “DYC Ignites” which is touring major Indian cities.

Bally Sagoo had earlier created magic in Delhi, Gurgaon and Jaipur, Lucknow, Pune, Hyderabad and Noida.

He presented remixed numbers like “Hai Jamalo” and “Choli ke Peeche Kya Hai” for the local crowd, which danced to his tunes. He also doled out his original numbers like “Kabhie aar Kabhie Paar”, “Gutt Nagini”, and “Aaya Jatt Ludhiana”. Bally Sagoo was supported by former Miss India Divya Jaitley.



DMCH employees meet Badal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 9
A delegation of Dayanand Medical College and Hospital Union met Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal during his recent visit to the city. The delegation submitted a memorandum to CM requesting him to withdraw police cases against several employees, who had taken part in 2002 agitation.

Rajwant Randhawa, president and Harjinder Puri, general secretary of DMCH Employees Union, have also demanded that contract-system should immediately be stopped in the organisation and recruitment of employees should be on regular basis. The para-medical and training staff and other employees should be provided with facilities which were being offered to doctors. Apart from DA and house rent, the employees were denied other allowances. DMCH, being a premier institute must provide all other allowances to its employees, stressed the union leaders.



Labour laws being eroded: AITUC
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 9
The All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) today rued the “anti-labour” policies of the UPA government in the Centre and the SAD-BJP government in the state.

It alleged that there had been progressive erosion of labour laws and these were being used in the interest of capitalists only.

Addressing a press conference here today, AITUC secretary G.L. Dhar and a few other leaders alleged that even in Punjab the labour reforms were at the worst. Dhar disclosed that the state government had failed on the issue of providing minimum basic wages which were lowest in the North.

The AITUC reiterated its demand to enhance the minimum basic wages from Rs 2,515 to Rs 5,000 a month for the unskilled, Rs 6,500 for semi-skilled, Rs 8,000 for the skilled and Rs 10,000 for the highly-skilled labourer.

It had served an ultimatum to the government for enhancing the wages failing which it would launch a mass agitation.

A meeting of the various trade unions from across the country will be organised in Delhi on July 16.

Trade union leaders alleged that the UPA government had forgotten the common minimum programme particularly about the labour welfare.

They alleged that the UPA government was playing in the hands of the capitalists and was ignoring the interests of the working class.

They warned, the election results in Uttar Pradesh, Uttrakhand and Punjab must serve as an eye opener for the Congress and the UPA.



Pocket PC launched
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 9
i-mate™, that deals in Windows mobile phones, has launched its latest pocket PC that would enable users to stay mobile without having to carry around a large device. The new device, said the company today, combines ease-of-use and is packed with Windows Mobile features.

Pankaj Mohindroo, Chairman, i-mate™ India said, "The JAMA is compact, lightweight, powerful, stylish and very competitively priced, which fits many of today's modern consumers requirements. It's your personal computer in your pocket".

Giving details of specifications, he said it has Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0, a 300 MHz processor, 128MB ROM, 64MB RAM, 2 MP-Effect camera, bluetooth and stereo audio. It would give user the familiar benefits of all Microsoft Windows experience like MSN mobile, Instant Messenger, Media Player 10 Mobile and Internet Explorer. The usual Microsoft Office Mobile applications such as Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint Mobile are also present in d JAMA, which is priced at Rs 15,990, the company added.



Cut taxes on ethanol, says chamber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 9
The Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry today said the government had again given an indication of increasing the rates of petroleum products which would have an adverse effect on the economy.

A press note today said: "Although the prices of crude oil are rising but there are ways to reduce prices of these products. Worldover, biofuel is being developed to reduce the rates. However, we have not been able to use ethanol as taxes on ethanol in India are quite high."

President of the chamber P.D. Sharma said there were around 45 per cent tax on ethanol which resulted in a rise in prices by around Rs 10 per litre. The taxes included central excise, sales tax, ED cess, export fee and import levy, he added. The taxes should be reduced.



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