L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

‘Mystery fire’ dogs Chawni Mohalla family
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana July 18
The family of Surinderpal Singh in Chawni Mohalla is intrigued by the mysterious incidents of fire in their house.

The family members say they do not know the cause of fire that has literally turned into ashes most of their household goods.

Much against the arguments of rationalists, the family still believes that there is some “mysterious and invisible force” that sets their articles on fire.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Surinderpal Singh said everything was fine up until two months ago.

The incidents of sudden fire, which take place both during day and night time, in the house have increased during the past one month.

Earlier, some “invisible force” used to throw bricks at the family members. “Both my daughters had received minor injuries during the incidents,” he said, adding that fire had destroyed most of their belongings, including clothes, bags, mattresses, pillows, chairs, almirahs, beds, etc.

Scared at the developments, the family prefers to stay outside of the house. The three children of the family - Tarvinder Kaur, Ishwinder Kaur and Amritpal Singh - spend most of the time with the neighbours. The children had lost their mother one and half years ago.

Surinderpal Singh said neighbours used to fight with them that they themselves were responsible for the fire incidents. One of the families had even shifted out of the neighbourhood, he said.

“Why should I be doing all this? Who will deliberately destroy their own things? We are upset at the happenings. Whom should we complain to? We have absolutely no grudge against anyone. We recite Gurbani throughout night to keep such incidents from happening. We stay outside of the house with our neighbours in the night. We have tried to keep a vigil but found nobody enter our house,” said Surinderpal Singh.

Meanwhile, members of the Taraksheel Society, which propagates rationalism, today visited the house.

General secretary Ashok Kumar said they sympathised with the family. “At the same time we have told them not to panic. We are finding out the cause. It seems to be the handiwork of some socially or mentally disturbed person,” he said, adding that one should not forget that fire incidents had not caused harm to any of the family members.

He also appealed to media not to give undue publicity to the incident, as it would cause panic among public and compound the family’s problems.

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Sub registrar joins, but not without discomfort
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
On the first day of the joining of sub registrar (west) Mukesh Kumar, residents who had come to the office for various works had to wait for hours together due to the elaborate welcome ceremony for the official.

I waited for four hours before the officers could get on to work. It is an irony that they are bringing in an honest officer but are not valuing people’s time

The sub registrar was flanked by chief parliamentary secretary Harish Rai Dhanda, Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Darshan Singh Shivalik and some Akali leaders, as he came to the Bachat Bhavan after 11 am.

The work could start only after 12.30 pm after the leaders were over with their speeches.

“I came here at 9 am and waited for four hours before the officers could get on to work. It is an irony that they are bringing in an honest officer but are not valuing people’s time,” said an elderly man, who had come to the office to get some work done.

Some residents said though the office opened at 9 am there was nobody for public dealing. Though a naib tehsildar was present, he excused work saying it would begin only after the new sub registrar took charge.

It was only around 12.30 that the work started. Later, the naib tehsildar went for lunch.

Only 55 sale deeds could be registered today compared to an average of 80-100 every day.

“I have been asked to come tomorrow. I was here in the morning but officials did not have time for me. We kept waiting here as they lectured in Bachat Bhavan. Later, he was taken to the Bar room where some lawyers accorded him a warm welcome,” rued another resident.

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Drivers continue to bypass bus stand
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 18
Even after receiving notices for alleged violation of rules laid down by the state transport authorities, a majority of transport companies, private and government, continue to contravene instructions and harass passengers by dropping them 3 km from of the local bus stand.

Even when officials have identified the violators and provided lists of defaulters during a certain period, inaction on part of the transport authorities shows that they are protecting the interest of operators, causing inconvenience to public

The district transport officer, Sangrur, on the reports of the PRTC authorities regarding the violation of rules by bus operators plying their buses in Sangrur district, including certain depots of Punjab Roadways, had served notices on them and warned them of consequences if they continued violating the rules.

Their buses, instead of coming to the local bus stand under the schedule passed directly through Pohir village.

The staff has been directed to conduct surprise checks and initiate action against the violators.

The district transport authorities maintained that they had asked all operators of the district to run their buses strictly by the permits granted by the state transport authorities.

Meanwhile, municipal council president Jatinder Bhola has accused the transport authorities of shielding bus operators who have been violating rules for years.

“Even when officials have identified the violators and provided lists of defaulters during a certain period, inaction on the part of the transport authorities shows that they are protecting the interest of operators, causing inconvenience to public,” argued Bhola.

Leaders of various social and political organisations, led by Bhola, had accused certain operators of violating rules by not bringing their buses to the local bus stand.

In a representation to the higher authorities of the state transport department, the leaders had demanded that the PRTC, Punjab Roadways and private operators should be made to take buses to the local bus stand.

A team of officials of the PRTC, Ludhiana, had observed that on an average 40 to 50 buses violated regulations every day. Instead of coming to the local bus stand, these buses went straight from Pohir chowk. This not only caused inconvenience to passengers but caused monetary loss to depots that obeyed the rules.

“Long-route passengers prefer to travel by those buses that go straight from Pohir village instead of coming to Ahmedgarh,” read a letter written by GM, PRTC, Ludhiana, to the higher authorities.

The officer had supported his claim by enclosing a long list of violators.

Residents of the area have once against urged the authorities to ensure that drivers of all public transport vehicles should stick to the schedule approved by the state transport authority.

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Police officers get yoga training
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
Police officers undergoing promotional training at the Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur, had a unique experience today when they got a chance to learn the “Sidhhamrit surya kriya yoga” from Swami Suryendupuri of Shabad Surt Sangam Ashram, Malke (Moga).

The art of relaxing the body and mind by way of performing yoga was demonstrated by the swami, a disciple of Paramhans Swami Budhapuri Ji Maharaj, the “inventor” of this yoga and chief of the Shabad Surt Sangam Ashram as well as Dera Harisar, Kila Raipur.

The trainees were explained how yoga would enable them discharge their duties without undergoing physical fatigue or mental stress.

This form of yoga, also called Maha Yoga, ensured good health, hence resulting in higher efficiency at work.

The yoga team members who accompanied the swami were Sadhvi Yoganjil, Brahmchari Dhruv Chaitanya, Col Raghbir Singh Kang (retd), and Lieut-Col Harbans Singh (retd), certified instructors of this form of yoga.

This was their second periodical visit to the academy.

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Youth found murdered
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
Mystery shrouds the murder of a youth whose body was found in a street in Pritam Nagar, Haibowal, today.

Rajesh Kumar, a salesman with a chemist shop, was found stabbed to death. Though his mobile phone was found in a pocket, cash was missing.

The police suspected robbery or personal enmity as the motive for the crime.

The youth was unmarried and a resident of Chander Nagar.

The police has registered a case of murder against unknown persons.

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Galib's demand to appoint Capt as PCC chief resented
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
The demand by former Ludhiana MP and senior party leader Gurcharan Singh Galib to appoint Capt Amarinder Singh as president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee has infuriated several party leaders.

The urban and rural district units of the party today held an emergency meeting condemning Galib for his statement against PCC president Shamsher Singh Dullo.

The meeting was attended among others by urban district unit president Jagmohan Sharma, rural unit president Bhulinder Singh, district youth Congress president Dimple Rana and others.

Sharma said the party leaders took strong exception to Galib's remarks against the PCC president.They regretted that despite being one of the seniormost leaders of the party in the state, Galib had made "these unfortunate remarks" particularly at a time when elections to the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation were round the corner.

He said given the seniority and stature of Galib, the district unit did not initiate any action on its own and referred the matter to the party high command.The party leaders felt that Galib had every right to speak out his mind, but he should speak it out in the party fora and not go public about it. He said this would create a bad image of the party at a crucial time.

Sharma asserted that the party was "quite united" in Ludhiana and Galib's statements were "exclusive to him". He said the party stood firmly by the former Chief Minister in his fight against the Akali- BJP government.

At the same time, he observed, the party leaders must maintain discipline and must not try to score personal points during such occasions. He claimed Galib's statements had created bad taste among the party cadres who are preparing for the crucial and all important local bodies elections in the city.

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MCPI (U) seeks probe into case against activist
Our Correspondent

Doraha, July 18
The Marxist Communist Party of India (United) has demanded an independent inquiry into the allegedly false case filed against Tarlochan Singh, a party activist, under Sections 380 and 452 of the IPC at Payal police station last month.

State MCPI (U) secretary Kuldeep Singh Advocate, district secretary Lakhwinder Singh Bane and Pawan Kumar Kaushal along with other party members met with ASP Babu Lal Meena, investigating officer in the case, and asked him to conduct an independent inquiry into the case filed on June 4 against Jarnail Singh Shahpur of Shahpur village and Tarlochan Singh of Doraha.

The party leaders and workers alleged that the case was “baseless and false”.

In the FIR lodged at the Payal police station, Jasvir Singh of Doraha had complained that Jarnail Singh Shahpur along with Tarlochan Singh had misbehaved with his wife and manhandled her in his absence at his residence.

He had also stated that they had forcibly taken away his motor cycle.

The party leaders said the day the case was filed on the complaint of Jasvir Singh, Tarlochan Singh was critically suffering from jaundice and was confined to bed. Hence, the case was far from being true.

The leaders have appealed to the government and police authorities to look into the matter so that the facts could be brought out and culprits punished.

The MCPI (U) further said if timely action was not taken they would take up the case at the sangat darshan.

They also threatened to launch an agitation if justice was denied to Tarlochan Singh.

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Power banks rescue city from cuts
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
Despite substantial increase in the load, the Punjab State Electricity Board has managed to supply electricity to the consumers with minimal power cuts. Even during the peak season, when people were apprehending long cuts, the PSEB resorted to "minimum possible cuts" of not more than an hour in all the areas.

According to the chief engineer (operations) PSEB, Ludhiana (Central Zone), B.S. Bath, this became possible with advance planning, particularly the power banking with other states.

He disclosed that the state government had entered into power banking agreement with other states. He pointed out different states have different needs at different times. "While our demand is at peak from June to August, in some states these months are quite lean and during the winters, when we are power surplus we supply power to those states," he disclosed while adding, "This arrangement has worked very well."

Bath said the demand for power increased by about six per cent this year. The total consumption this year was about 72 thousand lakh units against about 64 thousand lakh units during the previous year. He said, besides power banking, good monsoons also helped in better generation of electricity this year.

The other factors that helped in improving the power supply include addition of 100 MVA at the 220 KV sub-station at Dhandari Kalan. He said the 66 KV Ferozepur Road sub-station was going to be converted into 220 KV sub-station and a new 100 MVA transformer had been proposed due to which supply position of the Ludhiana city would be substantially improved.

Bath said, the 66 KV Pakhowal sub-station was being converted into 220 KV sub-station and due to this the 220 KV sub-station at Lalton Kalan which feeds Ludhiana city would get relief thereby substantially improving the power situation in the city.

He said two new 66 KV sub-stations had been set up in Ludhiana East and Ludhiana West circles. One 20 MVA power transformer had been installed at 66 KV sub-station at Focal Point.

The chief engineer said the capacity of several sub-stations had been enhanced which had improved the supply position.

He said there were some complaints of power failure. He admitted that at some places there were breakdowns but that was only due to the technical faults and not due to the shortfall in supply. 

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Vaccination camp for pets
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 18
The Animal Husbandry Department organised a free anti-rabies vaccination and awareness camp at the civil veterinary hospital, Barewal, near here.

Paramjeet Kaur Shivalik, wife of Darshan Singh Shivalik, MLA, Dakha, inaugurated the camp.

Speaking on the occasion, Paramjeet Singh, deputy director, Animal Husbandry Department, focused on different schemes of the department being run for the dairy farmers and pet owners.

He said rabies was a deadly disease and all over the world more than 40,000 human lives were lost due to rabies, while in India the infection claimed more than 20,000 lives every year.

Harbans Singh Dhalla, veterinary officer, who is also the executive member of the Punjab State Veterinary Council, said the funds allocated by the government to the council for anti-rabies vaccination drive had been exhausted. He demanded further financial assistance to continue the fight against rabies.

He asked the state government to evolve legislative mechanism for the registration of pet animals like dogs and cats with the local bodies (municipal corporations, municipal councils) at a nominal fee.

Such a step would facilitate effective vaccination of pet animals against rabies. Dhalla appealed to the NGOs like the Rabies Control Society, the PFA, the SPCA and the departments concerned to put united efforts in curbing the rabies menace. Jatinder Singh, agricultural development officer, showed various feeds and seeds to dairy farmers and pet owners. Parminder Kaur, Aditya Sewak, Pawan Sood, Tarlochan Singh, all veterinary officers, led by J.K. Uppal, senior veterinary officer, carried out vaccination of dogs and cats during the camp.

Several leading pharmaceutical companies, including Ranbaxy, Himalya Drug Ltd, Wockhardt and Indian Immunological Ltd, had put up stalls for information on medicines, vaccines and feed for animals.

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Tax Bar assn plea to CM
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 18
The Punjab Tax Bar Association (PTBA) has urged the Chief Minister to take appropriate measures for rationalisation of Punjab Value Addition Act (PVAT) so that the taxation system could work smoothly for traders, industrialists and tax professionals.

At a meeting with the Chief Minister, Ashok Juneja, chairman, and B.R. Kaushal, general secretary of the association, suggested that VAT refunds should be issued within 30 days by accepting indemnity bond or affidavit from the dealers concerned. In case of delay, beyond the stipulated period, the dealers should be paid interest on amount due for refund.

The PTBA functionaries demanded that all files relating to goods, detained at barriers or elsewhere by the excise and taxation department, ought to be shifted to department authorities concerned, posted at the district headquarters where the dealer was registered.

Harish Rai Dhanda, chief parliamentary secretary, who is also the patron of PTBA, wanted that the advocates should also be considered eligible for appointment as chairperson of the VAT Tribunal. Similarly, advocates or income tax practitioners, like chartered accountants, should also be authorised to verify the annual statement of dealers.

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Villages given grant
Our Correspondent

Khamano, July 18
The Punjab Government will start its atta-dal scheme from August 15.

This was stated by MLA, Samrala, Jagjivan Singh Khirnia while addressing a function at Sanghol, near here.

He gave grant cheques to some villages, including Mansoorpur,Sanghol, Ria, Bhutta, Dhianu Majra and Chari.

He said more grants would be distributed among different villages in the near future. 

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Urs Khwaja on July 21

Ludhiana, July 18
Sufi saint Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti's Urs Mubaarak 795 started on July 17 at Ajmer Sharif in Rajasthan where the holy shrine of the great saint is located.

Aashiq-e-Khwaja (old- age home and child home society) of Ludhiana will mark the occasion here for the fifth consecutive year. According to president of the society Kulwinder Singh, Urs will be celebrated on July 21. The purpose , according to the organisers, is to promote the message of world peace and mutual love as propagated by great Khwaja Garib Nawaz (lord of needy). — TNS

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Punjab engine of growth for auto loan industry
Shveta Pathak

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana , July 18
The auto financing industry finds its top gear in the consumption-fuelled market of Punjab. So much so that when the industry is going through a slump it looks towards this state to regain its business.

"This year we are focusing on Punjab and expect the business here to double," CEO of Kotak Mahindra Prime Limited, Sumit Bali, told Ludhiana Tribune here today.

A subsidiary of the Kotak Mahindra Bank, the company which did business worth Rs 110-120 crore in Punjab last year, hopes to raise this figure to Rs 240 crore in a year's time.

An increasing number of people in the region are also directly opting for B-segment cars, instead of going in for entry-level cars first.

"Unlike earlier when the first car, in most cases, would have been an entry-level one these days people prefer directly going in for B-segment cars like Zen, Alto, Santro etc. The trend in Punjab is quite encouraging which is quick when it comes to adopting the latest," said Bali.

Interest rate hike, which reduced the overall car financing business by around 10 per cent, resulted in more people buying cars upfront, that is, without availing the financing facility. However, the impact of interest rate hike, said Bali, would not continue for long.

Bali said, "People did start buying cars directly. However, customers have already begun realising the fact that the effect of the interest rate hike is not too much and have once again started coming to finance companies."

Bali said that in order to increase business the company would improve its distribution channel and hire more people to sell its products.

Regarding cases of non-repayment of installments, he said in case of Punjab such cases were not very high. "We are educating our channel partners that they check the requirements of customer and affordability properly in order to avoid problems related to default etc. In many cases we even advise customers who want to go in for a high end car that he opt for another car so that such problems do not arise."

Regarding the company's overall business, Bali said it was Rs 2,100 crore last year and a growth of 40-50 per cent was the target for this year. "We are quite hopeful of growth gaining momentum as car sales too are quite high. It is only a matter of time that financing business too picks up again," he added.

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Award for car dealer
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 18
Dada Motors has bagged the prestigious highest selling Safari dealer in India award for the second year in a row.

The company was awarded the highest selling Safari dealer in India for the year 2006-2007 by Ratan Tata at the All-India Dealers Meet in Athens, Greece, recently. Dada Motors also pocketed the coveted 'All- India Service Performance Award' at the awards ceremony.

According to a statement, Tata said it was an amazing achievement for a dealer from non-metro city to clock the maximum sales of a premium SUV. He further lauded the efforts of Rishi Dada and his entire team which had beaten other dealers from across the country to get the prestigious award.

Dada said “this great feat has been possible only because of the encouragement and motivation shown by the people of Punjab."

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