L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Judgment Day
Eerie silence at Hawara’s village
Every mother prays for the life of her son
Gurminder Singh Grewal

Khamano, July 29
There was an eerie silence at the house of Jagtar Singh Hawara, one of the six persons convicted of the assassination of Beant Singh, in village Hawara Kalan, near here. The sentence is to be pronounced tomorrow. Hawara was a good volleyball in school and an obedient student, recall the villagers.

They say he was arrested by the Chamkaur Sahib police in 1988 when he was a student of Class X at Government school, Barsalpur, and sent to the Nabha jail on the charge of keeping a revolver. There he came in touch with other militants and turned towards militancy.

At that time, his family was among the rich families of the village with 25 acres of land. Now, Hawara’s mother, Narinder Kaur, lives alone at their ancestral house. His father died about six years back and his brother and his sister-in-law moved to some unknown foreign country for fear of police excesses.

The wife of his brother was at one time elected sarpanch of the village unanimously.

Hawara’s mother is illiterate. She solely relies on the media for any news on her son. She barely speaks to anyone and chooses not to respond to any query.

Today, a team of reporters visited the village. The house of Hawara wore a deserted look. There was one woman from the village who had come to visit his mother.

On persistent pleas, she said: “Every mother prays for the life of her son.” Master Gurcharan Singh, who once taught Hawara, said: "He was very good in his studies."



3 rebel councillors get ticket
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana July 29
As the Congress released the list of most candidates for elections to the Municipal Corporation, many an eyebrow were raised over the final selection.

Despite the strong opposition from former ministers like Harnam Dass Johar and Rakesh Pandey, three councillors, Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Jaiprakash and Balkar Sandhu, managed to get the party nomination.

They, along with another Congress councillor, Satpal Beri, were charged with working against official party candidates in the last assembly elections. They had supported Madan Lal Bagga, another party councillor, who contested independently from Ludhiana North. This had led to the defeat of official candidate Rakesh Pandey. Beri and Bagga had already been expelled from the Congress.

Surprisingly, deputy mayor in the previous house Sushil Malhotra has not been nominated. She was at loggerheads with the then sitting MLA from the area (Ludhiana East) Surinder Dawer.

She had staked claim for the party nomination from this segment. The party has withheld its decision on this ward.

Interestingly, Ashu has managed to get the ticket. His sister-in-law, Leena Sharma, has also been fielded from Ward 52. There are reports that he might even manage party nomination for his wife from Ward 49, who is otherwise to contest as an Independent candidate from there.

The party has withheld the decision about this ward. Similarly Jaiprakash has managed nomination from Ward 30 while Balkar Sandhu's wife Snehlata has been fielded from Ward 55.

Ashu, Jaiprakash and Sandhu had supported Madan Lal Bagga.

Johar and Pandey were seen arguing against the party nomination to these councillors or their relatives. They argued that Gurcharan Singh Galib was denied the assembly ticket from Jagraon just because he had opposed Manish Tewari in the parliamentary elections, same treatment should be given to them.

Recently, when Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president Shamsher Singh Dullo was asked about such councillors, he feigned ignorance about their "anti-party" activities, saying that he had not received any complaint from anybody in writing.

In fact, Pandey had already placed his complaints on record with the high command. Besides, he has substantiated his charges with news clippings and photographs showing Ashu and others accompanying Bagga when he filed his nomination papers.

Important nominees on the Congress list include outgoing mayor Nahar Singh Gill from Ward 14, senior deputy mayor Prem Mittal from Ward 51, PCC secretary Parminder Mehta and others.

The party is understood to have left two wards for left parties also. These wards will be allotted from the 11 wards on which the party has withheld its decision so far.



Driven by teaching
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 29
If one is determined nothing can stop them from being successful in life. Gursharan Kaur (33), a resident of Paddi village, near Sahnewal, is one such example.

She dreamt of being a teacher since childhood and when she could not get a job as teacher, she decided to open a small school to fulfil her dream of teaching village children.

Today, she owns a high school in the village. She is not only the principal and teacher but a driver as well. She picks up and drops students from nearby villages in her Tata Sumo.

The school started on March 20, 2002 with just 30 students. Today, after five years, over 200 students are getting education up to class 10. The school is affiliated with the Punjab School Education Board.

“Due to initial hiccups, villagers were reluctant to send their wards to my school. I learned driving and started picking them up from six nearby villages on my own. In school, I just had a couple of teachers before. As the number of students increased, I had to hire more teachers for the school,” said Gursharan.

She said her aim was to educate more and more needy children.

“Though it is not a charitable institution we have kept a nominal tuition fee. The fee is Rs 60 for nursery class. As the student moves up, the tuition fee goes up by just Rs 10. Villagers are happy as their wards get a good education,” added Gursharan. After her graduation from GTB College, Doraha, Gursharan did her post-graduation in English from Sudhar College.

She has decided to stay single and teach children thoughout her life. She is being supported by her parents and brothers in her endeavour.

“When the school closes, she locks the classrooms and drops us home. During our short journey, she teaches us the moral values,” a student said.



ASI suspended
Cop’s car used for theft

Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 29
Just a day after a sub-inspector was suspended on corruption charge, another cop is in the dock after the police today found that a gang of criminals had used his car for committing a theft of pipes at an under-construction factory of an industrialist in Dhandari.

The city SSP R K Jaiswal suspended ASI Balwinder Saini, in charge of the Dhandari police post, after the incident. The thieves had struck at the plot of industrialist Prabhjot Kalra. They had used Indica car of the cop.

The inquiry recommended the dismissal of accused cop after it was established that he gave the car himself and knew the identity of the alleged thieves.

The SP said the cop knew the alleged thieves but had no idea about their plan to commit theft. He said on the basis of his association with such people, the police had recommended the strong action against him.

The thieves were spotted in the car when they were selling the stolen pipes to a scrap dealer in Dhandari. The car number was matched and shockingly the area residents and the police found the ASI was the owner of the vehicle.



Kidnapped child rescued
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 29
The Sahnewal police this morning rescued a 3-year-old child from the clutches of an alleged kidnapper Sehdev, who had sought a ransom of Rs 20,000 from Desh Kumar, father of the child.

The accused had kidnapped the child on July 27. Though his prime motive was to get ransom, the police was investigating if there was some other motive also. The accused used to work with Desh Kumar, a mason, a year ago.

SP Harish Kumar told reporters the accused took away the child on July 27 and kept shifting his base from one village to another. He also stayed at some religious places. The police got information about his movement after it had flashed pictures of the child all over the region. The accused and the child were finally traced near Machhiwara this morning.



Ludhiana Calling

The arrival of latest gizmos is not giving happiness to all. As a music lover, who earlier boasted of a good collection of music cassettes, rues acute shortage of music cassettes these days. “While CDs and DVDs are easily available, music cassettes appear to have vanished, as hi-tech music systems have become popular now,” he rued. Upgrading has become critical, it seems.

Monsoon sales

Sales have become as common as selling itself. The only change one finds in these sales is in the name. The latest discounts are being offered in the name of “monsoon sales”. With every outlet, even brands, offering discounts, it has become critical to attract customers by telling them they are getting discount on products they buy, a shopkeeper reasoned. Now, customer definitely is not the king here.

Scary taxman

At a recent meeting of a business association, income tax chief commissioner Mandeep S. Rai was talking about indifference to values and beliefs plaguing developing economies. He said everyone was trying to make fast money. “Are you not?” Suddenly, as if realising that he could have scared those around, he added in a lighter vein: “Don’t think I am trying to extract money from you,” making the entire gathering burst into laughter.

Flattering the boss

The recent visit of a senior railway official put entire staff here on alert. The station wore a spic-and-span look and everything appeared in perfect order. As if this was insufficient, in their endeavour to “please the boss”, the staff put two pots of plants outside the special coach that the official spent over an hour with other officers in (see pic). Only if such efforts were made towards improving efficiency of services for common man too!

No kidding

Students of Government College for Women are suffering because of shortage of drinking water on the college campus these days. They have complained about water scarcity to their respective teachers and some of them have been asked to bring their own water bottles as the problem may prolong. One of the students jestingly quipped: “Please treat us as kids, but not as small as tiny tots of a playway!”

Fancy functions

The ladies’ club culture in the city is not new. A few years ago when the clubs were mushrooming, the functions were not organised with much ballyhoo by the members. But in recent times, the members have gone all-out to ensure that their functions are the talk of the town. They welcome guests with folded hands, wear beautiful outfits, offer lavish lunches, give expensive gifts and present good-looking women on stage and why not? After all they wait to see these beautiful faces in next day’s newspapers.

— Sentinel



Media policy soon: Majithia
Our Correspondent

Doraha, July 29
Information and public relations, and water supply and sanitation minister Bikram Singh Majithia has assured of safeguarding the freedom of press in the state.

Interacting with mediapersons here last night, he said the government would ensure that mediapersons carried out their professional duties freely.

The minister said the state government would bring out a new media policy shortly to facilitate mediapersons to perform their duties freely.

Majithia added that the press was the fourth estate of democracy and performed its role in an impartial manner in disseminating the policies and programmes of the government along with highlighting the problems of people.

He said media had also played an important role in the spread of education in remote parts of the country and had been instrumental in providing information related to the latest inventions in the IT and other technical sectors.

Answering a question on the government claim over the waters of its rivers, Majithia clarified that the state was facing a water shortage for irrigation and did not have surplus water for other states.

The minister said government would safeguard the interest of the state in this regard.

Expressing his concern over increasing pollution in villages, he said the government had launched a special programme for remodelling ponds in 1,000 villages that posed health hazard.

He said the programme would be extended to another 3,000 villages in the second phase.

Later, addressing a religious congregation, Majithia exhorted people to maintain communal harmony. The gathering was organised by the Durga Sewa Dal.

He said sages had propounded the principle of tolerance and peace during their times, which were still relevant today.

The minister said such efforts would further help create understanding amongst people of different sections.

Akali leader Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal said people must strive hard to strengthen the bonds of mutual brotherhood.

He demanded liberal funds for the development of Doraha, especially to tackle the problem of pollution created by sewerage along the canal.

Among those present included BJP (rural) district president Sukhwinder Singh Grewal, zila parishad member Anup Raj Singh, BJP district general secretary Jatinder Sharma, Durga Sewa Dal president Jyoti Sharma and Doraha Truck Union president Kesar Singh.



Killer trees stand tall
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Rara Sahib (Ludhiana), July 29
Even a year after a fatal road mishap that occurred due to around 15 eucalyptus trees along a canal passing through this village, the administration has failed to address the problem.

Six persons, including four children, had died on August 8 when a truck they were travelling in accidentally plunged into the canal while negotiating a narrow stretch, caused by the trees lining the canal, of the road.

The trees still stand, posing a threat to human lives, even as a large number of trees are felled every day in other parts of the district in the name of development.

The forest department and the district administration continue to pass the buck as none seems to be concerned.

The SDM concerned has just put up signboards warning heavy vehicles against taking the road, but many still ignore the warning.

A number of trucks carrying devotees to religious places take this road. The truck that had fallen in the canal was also returning from a religious place. But no lessons have been learnt from the tragedy.

A visit to the place revealed that the bank of the canal was giving way gradually. A lapse in concentration can easily cause a similar accident on the stretch.

The problem is compounded at night when the visibility is low due to the absence of streetlights along the canal.

Officials of the Payal subdivision said they had written to officials of the forest department seeking permission to fell the trees. The permission, however, had not come in spite of repeated reminders.

“Felling trees is a sensitive issue and we have to wait for the permission. We respect the law but when trees become a hazard to human lives, these can be done away with,” said an official of the district administration on anonymity.

He said they had put up warning signboards at several places on the road to discourage heavy vehicles.

Villagers of Rara Sahib said if no action was taken by the administration, they would fell the trees themselves.

“We know how many accidents take place here. Last year we had to fish out the bodies of the victims involved in the mishap. The thought of it still gives us goose bumps. But the authorities seem unmoved,” said a villager.



Watch before you vote, townsmen told
K.S. Chawla
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 29
The People’s Awareness Forum, an NGO, has expressed serious concern at the deteriorating sanitary conditions in the city and failure of the municipal corporation to remove garbage on roads and clean the Budha nullah.

The general body, which met Prof Prithipal Singh Kapoor, president of the forum, here last night expressed its indignation at the apathy of the authorities towards the pollution of Sidhwan Canal.

The political leadership was criticised for a “pliable” attitude towards industrialists discharging industrial effluents into the Budha Nullah, despite the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Prof Gurcharan Singh, general Secretary, talking to the media here today, said that the forum wanted the candidates seeking election to the municipal corporation to give an undertaking to townsmen that they would address civic problems.

The residents were asked to “watch the performance of the candidates while casting their vote.”

The forum, he said, wanted the slums coming up on the periphery of the town in connivance with politicians to be removed forthwith.



‘Extend last date for filing returns’
Taxing for layman...
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 29
Thousands of taxpayers here are an unhappy lot as the department has indicated that the last date of filing IT returns will not be extended. What adds to the worry of assessees, particularly the business community, is that before the end of this month they also have to file their quarterly value added tax (VAT), tax deducted at source (TDS) and tax collected at source (TCS) returns.

As the new income tax return forms require much more details than the previous 'saral' forms, assessees are already facing difficulties filling them. A large number of people are facing problems as they have to furnish details to fill all these forms.

“Most businessmen have to fill VAT returns and also IT returns and TDS, TCS forms. The new IT forms are so complicated that one cannot do without the help of a professional. While it may not make much of a difference to large business houses, small and medium enterprises are not only hassled on account of a lot of unnecessary details required in the new form, many of them cannot afford to hire professionals for all their work,” said Rajnish Ahuja, president, Focal Point Sheds Association, adding, “The department should extend the date and also focus on simplification.” “To fill the new IT form, the time taken is more than double of what was needed earlier,” said Jatinder Khurana, a taxation lawyer.



But windfall for experts
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 29
Thanks to the new "tougher" return forms, professionals have doubled their fee for filing these forms. The new forms, which seek much more details in comparison to “Saral”, are being found difficult by most categories of assessees. Several individual assessees too, who earlier filled their tax forms themselves, are seeking experts’ help this time.

Sources revealed that finance professionals had increased the average fee for filing returns to Rs 1,500 for those falling in the business category. This amount was around Rs 700 when Saral was in place.

For a salaried assessee, the fee, that hovered between Rs 200 and Rs 400 on an average, is now more than Rs 500 per form.

For the business category, details like stock and cash in hand are the ones for which assessee have not been prepared for.

Expressing their helplessness , the assessee said the new form could not be filled without the help of a professional. "Earlier I used to fill Saral on my own. But this time I am confused and have got my form filled from a CA," said Sarla Kumari, a government employee.

Increase in number of scrutinise is another reason why people are scared of any mistakes in their forms.



Civic authorities scraping road surface
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 29
The residents of local Jagera Road area here have alleged that the civic authorities, allegedly succumbing to pressure of certain political leaders, have started scraping layers of a repaired road. Construction of the road had started after the Ludhiana Tribune had highlighted the plight of the residents.

Jatinder Bhola, president of the civic authority, maintained that the construction of the road was being carried out according to standards laid down in manual of civil works. “However, the authorities had to get the layers scraped where the thicker layers of tar were spread erroneously,” said Bhola, denying any political interference in execution of development projects.

Residents of the area led by Nawab Chand alleged that the civic authorities, in order to please owners of low-lying plots had started scraping layers of stones.

“As it would lower the level of the road dirty water will flow from the drains onto the road. Supplemented with rains, the stagnant water will serve as breeding place for pathogens,” argued Nawab Chand apprehending an outbreak of diseases.

The residents urged higher authorities to get the work done under their supervision and get the construction work expedited.

Earlier, the residents had apprised the Chief Minister with the indifferent attitude of the authorities towards their demands.



Leaders welcome ruling against Beant’s killers
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 29
Leaders of various social and political organisations of the area yesterday welcomed the verdict holding seven out of the eight accused in the Beant Singh assassination case guilty.

The leaders demanded that stern sentences should be awarded to the convicts so that the abraded hearts of the compliant people of the state were salved.

Terming late Beant Singh as saviour of peace and prosperity of the state, senior Congress leader Gurdev Singh Lapran said that the intensity of the punishment would decide the level of satisfaction the residents of the state receive.

Welcoming the court’s decision, Municipal Council president Jatinder Kumar Bhola demanded that severe punishment should be awarded to the killers.



Tributes paid to martyrs
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 29
The Shaheed Memorial Sewa Society in collaboration with Multi-Movie Makers and Jai Harinam Educational and Service Society, organised a seminar on national integration here today at Govt Senior Secondary School, Nichi Mangali village, Ludhiana district. The function was to held to pay homage to all martyrs, who sacrificed their lives for the country.

Harish Rai Dhanda (parliamentary secretary), Punjab, was the chief guest. Addressing a gathering of students and other distinguished persons, he said, "The need of the hour is to maintain harmony among all people of the different states. Hence national integration is the key issue these days. Many anti-national forces are trying to create discord among people and we have to fight them. He appealed to people to work together and not to be overpowered by anti-national forces."

Vajinder Singh, secretary of the society, said this function would be one in the series of such functions. The next function will be held in Ramgarhia Girls College on October 13.

Dhanda planted a sapling. The students who had stood first in essay-writing and drawing competition held earlier were honoured by the chief guest.



SSP recommends counselling over litigation
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 29
Terming counselling as a rapid and more responsive mode of rehabilitation in domestic social disputes and misunderstandings, SSP Ludhiana (Rural) Gurpreet Singh Bhullar called upon social organisations to coordinate with the newly-constituted Women Cell Counselling Committee and save individuals from unnecessary and expensive litigation.

While talking to the Ludhiana Tribune after chairing the first ever meeting of the committee on Saturday the SSP claimed that arbitration in disputes of domestic and social nature would prove beneficial for all concerned as it would help avoid unnecessary litigation and subsequent bitterness among various parties.

“Besides providing speedy relief to both the parties the adjudication results in minimising the gulf between the litigators. Compromises arrived at after lengthy litigation usually leaves the persons involved unhappy,” said Bhullar. He claimed that at least seven families had sought intervention of the committee during a meeting held at Jagraon on Saturday.

He told that the committee would meet every last Saturday of each month.



Siblings' bhog ceremony today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 29
The bhog ceremony of the three siblings, Kanwaljit Kaur, Paramjit Kaur and Daljit Singh, who committed joint suicide on Thursday, will be held tomorrow at noon at the Singh Sabha Gurdwara near CRPF colony in Dugri. The police are still probing to find the reason for the joint suicide of the three children of PWD clerk Amarjit Singh Marwaha.

They committed suicide by consuming poison. The trio was educated and had a strong bonding with each other. The police investigating the incident say they will know the exact cause of death after receiving the viscera report.



Fire breaks out at shop, controlled

Ludhiana, July 29
A major tragedy was averted when a fire that broke out in a garment shop at Gowshala Road here last night was brought under control in time. The fire broke out in the Narula Traders, which is owned by Ajay Narula Mattoo. Shawls and ladies suits are sold from the shop. Fire trucks were immediately rushed into service. — TNS



MC undertakes plantation drive
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 29
In order to provide green cover to the city, a plantation drive was undertaken by the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation. Three-hundred saplings were planted here today at Phase V, Focal Point. Municipal commissioner Vikas Pratap planted a sapling. Roshan Lal Arora of Rockman Industries Ltd said Rockman Industries provides free labour to the MC to dig pits for planting saplings.



Construct flyover quickly

The ongoing construction of a railway flyover on the tehsil road in Jagraon has been inconveniencing residents living on either side of the road for a long time. Workers leave construction material scattered on the road, blocking passage to link roads. The traffic police should put signs for the route proposed to be blocked. Residents have to turn back at the end of a blocked street, which was open just an hour ago.

Ritika, Jagraon

Readers are invited to mail letters (not more than 200 words) at "ludhiana@tribunemail.com" or post the same to The Tribune, 1, 2 Improvement Trust Building, Badaur House, Clock Tower, Ludhiana.



Speeding car kills woman
Our Correspondent

Samrala, July 29
Surinder Kaur (45) was killed yesterday evening near Kotla Shamspur village, 5 km from here, when a car struck her.

According to reports, Surinder Kaur of Ghungrali Sikhan village, came at bus stop, Kotla Shamspur, to leave her relative when she met with an accident. A 4-year-old child had narrow escape which was in her arms. The body was brought to the Civil Hospital, Samrala, and was returned after post-mortem to the family members.

Remand extended

D P K Bedi, Subdivisional Judicial Magistrate, yesterday extended the police remand of accused Sandeep Singh, resident of Jodhewal, Ludhiana, for two days. He was arrested by the police for keeping 10 kg poppy husk.

The police disclosed that some more cases could be registered after investigation as the accused had admitted that he oftenly purchased poppy husk at Rs 300 per kg from Madhya Pradesh and used to sell at the rate of 700/800 per kg and some more persons are also involved.



Two held for mobile phone snatchers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 29
The Salem Tabri police have arrested two alleged thieves and recovered 15 mobile phone sets and 14 SIM cards from their possession. The accused allegedly used to target persons riding on two-wheelers or on a rickshaw to snatch their mobile phones.

SHO, Salem Tabri police station, Beant Juneja said the accused were Kamaljit Singh and Ashwani Rai. The accused were booked under Section 382 of the IPC on the complaint of Parveen Sharma of Janakpuri.



Vegetable outlet inaugurated in city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 29
Namdhari Fresh, a fresh fruit and vegetables retail outlet, was inaugurated here today. The outlet, started by the Namdhari Group, is the first such outlet by the company in Punjab and 19th in the country. The company plans to open 10 more outlets in the state this year.

Talking to the Ludhiana Tribune, Rashpal Singh, deputy general manager, North, said: "We started with retail vegetable outlets 15 years ago in Bangalore. Now, we have taken some land on lease here and are supplying our own vegetables and fruits. Punjab will be the focus this year and 10 more outlets opened here and in Chandigarh by this financial year."

The company, which has outlets in Bangalore and Delhi, has taken nearly 300 acres of land on lease apart from its own 50 acres. It also exports its produce to European countries.

"Absence of middlemen will help supply produce at competitive rates, apart from helping us maintain the quality," he said, adding that, "the store is EUREP-GAP (European Good Marketing Practices ) certified.

Apart from usual Indian vegetables, the outlet also offers exotic vegetables, broccoli, zucchini, asparagus, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, etc. In fruits too, besides regular ones, kiwi, Australian and Chinese pears, melons, Australian apples, strawberries, etc will be available.

The stores also stock bakery products, chocolates, canned goods, bottled jams and syrups, biscuits, ice-creams, milk products, fruit juice, organic grains, flower, fruit and vegetable seeds, with detailed instructions on how to grow them.



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