L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Chaos spills onto roads
Last-minute rush for filing of nomination papers
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
It turned out to be a mad day in the city. Life was brought to a virtual standstill for most of the day, as hundreds of candidates, accompanied by scores of supporters, convoyed towards the mini secretariat here on the Ferozepore Road to file their nomination papers for elections to the Ludhiana municipal corporation.

As it happened to be the last day for filing of nominations today, there was a great rush all around lest anyone missed the bus.

Six of the seven venues for filing of nomination papers were located in and around the mini secretariat complex.

Roads got clogged up to as far as the Bharat Nagar chowk and the Bhaiwala chowk due to heavy traffic.

Commuters were the worst hit and the local administration was caught unawares.

Even the Mall Road remained blocked for some time, as the traffic from the Ferozepore Road continued to spill over to sideways.

The road happens to be the nerve centre of the city, particularly the stretch between the Bharat Nagar chowk and Bhaiwala chowk.

Most of the offices of the district administration and the police are located here.

The Feroze Gandhi market, the main commercial hub of the city, also falls on this stretch.

In fact the local administration, including the police, were found helpless in handling the situation.

Earlier during the Assembly elections, candidates had ensured that limited number of vehicles accompanied them, lest they flouted the code of conduct. However, the candidates hardly seemed bothered about this. Most candidates came with scores of vehicles accompanying them.

People coming from different places to the city, particularly the mini secretariat, rued the chaos.

It being Monday, the number of people visiting various offices was usually high. But most of them could not make it to their destinations. And those who could, had to return disappointed, as not much official work could be carried out.

Sunil Sharma, a resident of Jagraon, had come here for the registration of his vehicle. He said since it was Monday he hoped to find most of the officials on their seat.

He could not reach the DTO’s office in time and was stuck in the traffic jam near the Bhaiwala chowk, just a kilometer short of the office.

Same was the plight of scores of others who were stuck on the roads for hours together.

Since there was no alternative route along the Ferozepore road towards which the traffic could be diverted, the situation became worse.

Order was restored only in the afternoon but not before hundreds of people were made to waste precious hours and fuel in this sultry heat.

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Cong on damage control
Cancels nomination following dissent
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
Apparently embarrassed over fielding some candidates who had worked against the party in the last Assembly elections for the municipal corporation elections, the Congress today seemed to do some damage control at the last minute.

The party cancelled the nomination of Leena Sharma, the sister-in-law of Bharat Bhushan Ashu, from ward No. 52 and fielded Harjit Kaur from there. It also fielded Manjot Kaur from ward No. 49 from where Ashu’s wife Mamta Sharma is contesting as an independent candidate.

There had been resentment within the party against giving ticket to Ashu for his anti-party activities during the Assembly elections.

Particularly after it was learned that the party had not only fielded him from ward No. 54 but had also allotted the ticket to his sister-in-law.

The party had also not fielded any candidate from ward No. 49, from where his wife was contesting as an Independent candidate.

This had led to a belief among party workers that the seat was deliberately being left out as a subtle way of supporting her. But today the party, under pressure from workers, not only cancelled the nomination of Leena Sharma but also fielded its candidate from Ward No. 49.

Some party leaders want that he must clarify his position on ward No. 49. Since he himself is contesting as Congress candidate from ward No. 54, his wife is contesting against the Congress candidate in Ward 49.

Meanwhile, the party has nominated candidates for the remaining wards that were left out in the first list.

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‘Tainted’ canditates on list
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
Two trustees of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT), whose role in the City Centre scam is under the vigilance bureau’s scanner, are contesting the municipal corporation elections as Congress candidates.

Sitting councillor Sanjay Talwar and Surinder Pal Singh Bindra, both trustees, have been given ticket by the Congress, while a sitting councillor and another trustee, Malkiat Kaur, has been denied the ticket this time.

Incidentally, both Talwar and Bindra have been named Congress candidates even though both have joined investigations with VB amidst allegations that all trustees were in the know-how of the alleged scam.

Though the trustees have ‘Tainted’ canditates on list

been denying the allegations, the campaigning in their wards is set to hot up with the opponents likely to exploit the scam card.

Bindra, who is contesting from ward No. 48, is facing opposition from Manvinder Pal SIngh Makkar, an SAD candidate and son of SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar.

Talwar is contesting from ward No. 39 against SAD candidate Kulwant Singh Dukhiya.

While SAD opponents are leaving no stone unturned in propagating their image, the Congress is claiming that it had named them candidates to reiterate that the scam was a bundle of lies and they trusted their leaders so much that they could give them party ticket in the elections. It remains to be seen whether the electorate treats them as truthful leaders or chooses their opponent.

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In all, 580 file papers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana July 30
Scores of candidates for the elections to the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation had to stand in long queues to submit their nomination papers to the returning officers. At least 500 candidates filed their papers today, taking the total number of nominations to 580.Today was the last day for filing of nominations.

Most parties released the lists of candidates at the eleventh hour.Rebels also filed their papers as Independents today.

Former mayors Apinder Singh Grewal of the SAD from Ward No. 56, Nahar Singh Gill of the Congress from Ward No. 14, former senior deputy mayor, Prem Mittal of the Congress from Ward No. 51 and deputy mayor Sushil Gupta of the Congress from Ward No.37 are among those in the fray.

The SAD heavyweights include Hakim Singh Giaspura from Ward No. 75, Simarjit Singh Bains from Ward No. 71, Harbhajan Singh Dang from Ward No. 47 and Kulwant Snigh Dukhia from Ward No. 39.

Those from the Congress include Parminder Mehta from WArd No. 31, Amrit Varsha Rampal from Ward No.56, Surinderpal Singh Bindra from Ward No. 48 and Usha Malhotra from Ward No. 13.

The BJP candidates include Parveen Bansal (No. 41) and Sandeep Kapoor (No. 54).

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Beant’s legacy forgotten
Mahesh Sharma
Our Correspondent

Kotli (Ahmedgarh), July 30
Residents of the native village of late chief minister Beant Singh that was rechristened Shaheed Beant Singh Wala in 2002 are unhappy over the fact that the bureaucrats and democrats in successive governments had failed to fulfil promises regarding honouring the legacy of the late leader.

They wish that the union government should immediately start working on projects that had been announced by leaders of All India Congress Committee (AICC) and should impress upon the state government to expedite work on the promised projects.

Though the Punjab Government rechristened the village Shaheed Beant Singh Nagar five years ago, the name of the village appears nowhere in the records. “The then chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh had made the announcement on the occasion of anniversary of Beant Singh’s martyrdom in 2002. He then reiterated the stand next year also. But we fail to understand the reason behind the delay while the Congress was ruling in the state and is still in power in Centre,” rued Surjit Singh, a contemporary of Beant Singh.

Capt Amarinder Singh, while talking to a section of the press on September 1, 2003, had held that he would ask the Centre to confer Bharat Ratna posthumously on Beant Singh. But nothing concrete was done in that direction.

People remember that Capt Amarinder Singh had stated that their village had been named Beant Singh Wala and the state Cabinet had passed a resolution in September 2002 regarding changing the name of the road linking Payal with the national highway.

“Though Moti Lal Vohra, a senior functionary of AICC, had announced two years ago that a chapter on the life of Beant Singh would be introduced in school syllabuses, we have not noticed this in any of the books so far,” said Durlabh Singh. A stamp commemorating Beant Singh is similarly yet to be released.

As the regime in the state has since shifted hands the villagers have stopped dreaming of completion of much talked about memorial at Sector 42, Chandigarh. But they say the memorial gate meant to commemorate the life of Gurmit Singh, a loyalist of the late chief minister, should be put in place before August 31, the next death anniversary of the late chief minister. Rajinder Kaur Bhathal laid foundation stone for this gate two years ago.

The villagers are disappointed over factionalism in the party also. Contrary to their expectations, certain senior leaders of the party had been ignoring the annual function also. Capt Amarinder Singh attended the function only rarely after his assuming office as chief minister. 

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Student feared drowned
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 30
A class IX student of a village government school, who along with other mates had gone for a bath in the Bathinda branch of the Sirhind canal, near here, after playing truant was feared drowned today.

Sukhwinder Singh (15), son of Karamjit Singh of Rurka village, a student of Government School, Guram village, was feared drowned after he reportedly jumped into the canal, near Karamsar (Rara Sahib), to fish out  a coconut fruit this morning.

According to Maha Singh Rurka, a Congress leader of Rurka village, the student along with four others had gone to have a bath after bunking classes in the morning.

The students saw two coconuts on the surface of the canal water and asked Sukhwinder to fish them out.

“Sukhwinder was not a good swimmer and was carried away by the strong current. Rescue operations by passersby proved futile,” he said.

The rescue operations were still on till the filing of the report.

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Security up at Kotli
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 30
As the pronouncement of sentences to the convicts in Beant Singh assassination case have been postponed till Tuesday, the Payal circle police has strengthened the security arrangements at Kotli village and surrounding areas. Though red alert was sounded in the state immediately after the convictions against the accused, the Payal police have made extra arrangements in the area as a precautionary measure.

Besides intensifying security for the kin of late chief minister, the police have started patrolling and put up check posts at sensitive points in the area.

Payal DSP Rattan Singh Brar said security arrangements at Kotli, the native village of Beant Singh, had been intensified in view of a possible reaction by hardliners if a severe punishment is awarded to those convicted.

“Though we do not apprehend any direct action by hardliners we have taken preventive measures to handle any unsavoury situations arising after the pronouncement of sentence,” said Singh Brar.

The authorities were tightlipped about security of kin of the late Beant Singh, who reportedly have been asked to restrict their movements in public places. MLA Tej Parkash Singh Kotli, who had been actively canvassing for party candidates for Municipal Corporation elections at Jalandhar, curtailed his tours as was suggested by security agencies.

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Issuance of Press Note
Teachers’ union raps area secy
Our Correspondent

Doraha, July 30
Taking a serious note of the release of a circular and a press note by the area secretary of the Panjab University, Chandigarh, the general secretary of the Panjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union today said it was the prerogative of the general secretary to release a circular and issue statements and no one else was authorised to do the same, especially without the knowledge of the executive committee.

PCCTU general secretary Dr Kuldip Singh was reacting to the press note issued by the area secretary in which he had asked members of non-government affiliated colleges of Ludhiana district to stage dharnas and rallies in their respective colleges on August 1, after the two periods of teaching.

Dr Kuldip Singh said it was unfortunate that such a statement was given to the press without his knowledge and added that no such decision was taken at the last meeting held at DAV College, Jalandhar, on July 22, which was solely organised to discuss the future action plan and was inconclusive, after which the executive committee members had not met till date.

“I wonder how could such a note be issued? Moreover, the nominations to various posts, as mentioned in the circular, were never included in the agenda and are hence in no way acceptable,” Dr Singh added.

He added that such unauthorised arbitrary decisions would jeopardise the smooth functioning of the union.

He also said the need of the hour was to focus collectively on the real demands related to the college teachers and build up a solid pressure upon the government for the realisation of the same.

“Such attempts of internally dividing the PCCTU would weaken the union and strengthen the already-dispossesive stand of the govt,” he added.

Dr Manjit Singh Komal, secretary, Panjab University area, defending his point of view said: “At the meeting held on July 22 at DAV College, Jalandhar, when the PCCTU general secretary along with some other members left, the president of the union gave me a temporary shift on the chair of the general secretary and all decisions regarding the nominations as well as the fixing of dates for rallies and dharnas were taken in front of the executive committee itself.”

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Education dept in dock
‘Irregularities’ in promotion, appointments
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 30
Accusing authorities in state education department of allegedly ignoring seniority and natural justice while making promotions to the posts of district education officers in the state, the Gazetted Education School Servants Association (GESSA) has threatened to adopt legal recourse in case the appointments were not reviewed.

The association has also sought a probe into the alleged malpractices adopted by the current and previous governments by appointing teachers and headmasters through a private company.

Through a notice served on senior officers in the education department, GESSA president Joginder Singh Aulakh alleged that the authorities, acting at the behest of the education minister, had ignored seniority and natural justice while promoting senior teachers to the posts of district education officers in various districts.

“Instead of considering seniority and merit, the education minister has allegedly empowered SAD leaders of respective areas to get teachers of their choice as DEOs. Certain teachers due to their proximity to senior leaders and ministers lobbied for their favorite candidates even,” alleged Aulakh, maintaining that these district officers were unable to check their subordinate who had advocated their “cases”.

Terming the politicisation of promotion process as fatal for the already deteriorated education, Aulakh urged senior authorities to probe the matter and get the promotions reviewed in light of merit and seniority.

Through a separate communication, the association has urged the authorities to probe appointment of teachers and headmasters through a private company.

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MC candidature row: Cong men burn Dullo’s effigy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
Agitated over the "unfair" selection of candidates for the elections of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, some Congress activists led by the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee secretary Varun Mehta today staged a protest demonstration. They also burnt an effigy of PPCC president Shamsher Singh Dullo who they blamed for the “wrong” selection of the candidates.

Some Congress workers resigned in protest from the party and joined the SAD and the BJP. They alleged that their contribution towards the party had been overlooked with other considerations gaining precedence among party leaders, particularly the PPCC president.

Talking to reporters, Mehta alleged that Dullo had not played a fair game. He pointed out that some candidates who had openly worked against the party in the last Assembly elections were “handsomely rewarded for indiscipline” as they were offered not one but two or three tickets.

The protesters alleged that Dullo had been supporting the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance by deliberately choosing the wrong candidates who might get defeated. They said the Congress was going to be defeated in these elections and Dullo would be be to blame.

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Rashtriya Gaurav Award for Khanna doc
Our Correspondent

Samrala, July 30
Dr Dharam Paul, a renowned surgeon from Khanna, has been honoured with the prestigious Rashtriya Gaurav Award.

Dr Dharam Paul started his carrier as medical officer by joining Punjab State Civil Medical Service in 1972. He was promoted to senior medical officer’s position in 1984 and he remained posted at Civil Hospital, Khanna, from 1988 to 2003. Then he was promoted to the post of civil surgeon, Faridkot. He retired in 2004 and is at present offering his services to patients at Khanna Nursing Home, Khanna.

During his period of work at the civil hospital, he made efforts and not only got it upgraded to a 100-bed hospital but also got a magnificent building constructed. Under his supervision the facilities in the hospital were brought to a very high standard and it was ranked as one of the best civil hospitals in the state.

Because of his commendable performance, he got state awards in all national health programmes. For his professional excellence he was awarded ‘Chikitsa Shiromani’ and ‘Chikitsa Ratan’ awards recently.

Khanna Vikas Club appreciated his meritorious services and achievements and honoured him with a trophy. Now India International Friendship Society has honoured him with the prestigious ‘Rashtriya Gaurav Award’. Former governor of Assam and Tamil Nadu Bhisham Narayan Singh and former chief election commissioner of India G.V.G Krisshnamurty gave him this award at a glittering function at New Delhi. 

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Faculty development programme
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
A two-day faculty development programme on “Progress through vision and synergy” commenced at Guru Nanak Institute of Management and Technology (GNIMT), Gujarkhan campus, under the aegis of ISTE chapter here today. Renowned management consultant Gursharan Singh was the resource person.

The interactive programme was designed to build focus on vision and synergy, the two most important elements for development.

The entire faculty of GNIMT along with the director and joint secretary of the Gujarkhan Trust, Gurvinder Singh, attended the programme.

Dr (Col) H.S. Singha, director, GNIMT, said such a programme not only helped put thoughts into words but also evoked suitable action.

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Educationists exhorted to help eradicate illiteracy
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 30
Terming illiteracy as the root cause of all social evils, project officer of the open school of the Punjab School Board called upon the office bearers of various social and educational institutes to act as a bridge between the board and beneficiaries and help government eradicate the menace from the state.

Talking to the Ludhiana Tribune, Harjit Singh Sidhu, project officer, open school, PSEB, claimed that more than 1.7 lakh persons had benefited from the scheme during the first six years of working of the system in the border state.

Apprehending exploitation of the provisions of the open school mode of education through a nexus among certain private schools and commercial academies, Sidhu exhorted the social and educational organisations to coordinate with the board authorities in curbing unethical practises.

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50 donate blood at camp
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 30
Fifty volunteers donated blood at a blood donation and free medical check-up camp, organised by Yogi Dham, Shri Akshar Purshotam Swaminarayan Sanstha, at Threeke Road here today to mark Guru Purnima. A team of doctors from Ludhiana Mediciti Hospital conducted comprehensive medical checkups of the patients at the camp.

Functionaries of Yogi Dham said that items of daily need were distributed to 111 widow and destitute women. 

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NCC organises blood donation camp
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
Over 60 units of blood were donated in the blood donation camp organised by the cadets of National Cadet Corps (NCC) at the SCD Government College here today.

The blood donation camp was organised under the aegis of Red Cross Society. NCC Officer Dr Sohi said another blood donation camp will be organised in the month of December.

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‘Modelling not a long-term profession’
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
Doctor-turned-model Shipra Mallik feels that modelling is a profession one cannot rely on for a long-term.

Barely two-years-old in the glamour world, Malik has to her credit, brands like Maruti, Sony Erricson, Satya Paul and several others that she has modelled for. But only few would be aware that she is a qualified doctor too who earned a name in the fashion industry after being chosen as one of the Miss India finalists.

“I loved the medical profession but equally intense was the desire to enter the glam world which is why I did not leave the opportunity when it came knocking at my door,” remarked Malik.

Terming opening up of the economy as one of the best things that could have ever happened to the country, she said it not only gave a fillip to the business industry but had also opened up vast opportunities in other varied fields, modelling being one of them. “Thanks to the entry of a lot of corporates, modelling is not as difficult to get into as it was earlier. Now we have companies hiring models, fashion institutes and even corporates investing money into fashion shows.”

Malik, who is also associated with Fashion Week, feels India has already carved a niche for itself in the fashion world and global markets cannot afford to ignore it in any way.

The profession, however, is not just glamourous. “It requires immense hard work. Despite that, it is not a career one can rely on for long. Hence, I feel one must have a backup plan.”

Malik also participated in a fashion show organised by Godson Worldwide, which inaugurated a leather accessories and footwear outlet ‘Joy and Peace’ here last evening. The multi-brand store would offer footwear for kids, purses and other leather accessories, informed Moni Batra from the company.

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Pollution board officials allege bullying
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
Officers of the Punjab Pollution Control Board in Ludhiana are up in arms against some industrialists who have been trying to bully them. Two of these industrialists allegedly misbehaved with an environmental engineer, Najar Singh, recently. He has reportedly gone on protest leave.

Chairman of the board, Yogesh Goyal said there was some misunderstanding between the industrialists and board officials. A delegation of officers from Ludhiana met Goyal in Chandigarh on Friday. He said, he had assured them that nobody would be allowed to interfere with their working. He said Najar Singh was handling the hazardous waste section of the board.

Goyal said, Najar Singh was on leave and was likely to resume his duties tomorrow. He said, he had told the industrialists also that they should not harass the officials.

The officials alleged that these were the same industrialists who had earlier got one of their colleagues entrapped in a corruption case. Now they had started victimising others. The officials have been alleging that the industrialists were trying to blackmail them on various counts.

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Six-yr-old girl raped, murdered
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
A six-year-old girl who went missing yesterday morning was found raped and murdered in a vacant plot near in Rajguru Nagar last night.

The girl’s father earns a livelihood by ironing clothes. He and other relatives had been searching for the girl since morning. They had approached the police only in the evening.

The police is suspecting the role of some family friend behind the crime.

The police said the girl was strangulated to death by the alleged rapist as he feared being caught.

The body was sent for a post-mortem examination.

Tension prevailed in the area, with a large number of migrants gathering at the scene where the body was recovered. Three cases of rape and murder of teenage girls, occurring in the past six months, had yet to be solved.

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Letters
Inefficient PSEB

On Monday (July 23), an electricity pole was struck down by a truck, causing a power breakdown. When I approached the Janta Nagar PSEB office and asked a JE there the reasons for the power shutdown. It was incomprehensible to me why power to the entire area had been shut when repair of lights in one or two streets was on.

Again on Friday (July 26), there was a a blast in an electricity meter box as a result of which New Janta Nagar, Shimla Puri and other areas had to go without power the whole day. The power was restored at 9pm.

I want to question the PSEB if it can get power from Gujarat and Chennai, why it can’t manage power from local feeders.

Sher Singh, New Janta Nagar, Ludhiana

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Quacks rule the roost, threaten lives in city
Kuldip Bhatia
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 30
The recent public announcement by the Punjab minister for medical education and research Tikshan Sood that a high-level committee had been set up by the government to deal with the rampant menace of quackery in the state has once again proved the authorities’ inability to stop this in spite of there being relevant laws against quackery.

The medical fraternity here has ridiculed the government action (of setting up a committee) saying the laws were already in place against quackery. They said these laws just need to be implemented.

An Indian Medical Association official said, "The Medical Council Act and other laws are already in place, which enable the administration to regulate the medical profession and check unauthorised medical practice by unqualified individuals who are posing grave threat to the masses. If the enforcement authorities choose not to act against law-breakers, what will the so-called committee constituted by the government achieve."

According to rough estimates, some 8,000 unqualified and unregistered persons are carrying out medical practice in this district, with nearly 2,000 of them located in the city alone. In a bid to woo the people, the clinics run by these quacks promise magical cures for every ailment and many of these unauthorised practitioners were also learnt to be performing minor surgeries and radiological and laboratory tests, thereby taking the poor patients for a ride.

Another medical consultant observed that the quackery had led to patients dying or getting permanently disabled while the quacks made money in the process. The consultant said it was mostly the poor persons who got duped and ended up risking there lives with quacks.

The medical fraternity here feels that quackery has almost become a necessary evil in the city. "The unregistered practitioners take advantage of the lack of adequate healthcare facilities in the government sector. Moreover, as the poor find the medical treatment in the private sector health facilities unaffordable, they have no other choice but to go to quacks seeking cure for illness."

Sources in the Health Department pointed out that even if the department desired to proceed against the quacks for carrying on medical practice in violation of relevant laws, a comprehensive mechanism, police force and required manpower were simply not present for the purpose. They spoke of the drive initiated against quacks last year. They said the drive was ineffective as police registerd cases against quacks but but no follow up action was taken. Thereafter, even the known illegal clinics were back in business due to the legal complications that followed.

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Gang of copper thieves nabbed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
The city police today arrested seven members of a notorious gang of copper thieves, that had struck at a factory in Focal Point two days ago.

SSO R. K. Jaiswal told mediapersons that Umesh Kumar, Rammi Preet Singh, Sunil Chauhan, Rajesh Kumar, Ram Parvesh, Harish Kumar and Ranjit Singh had been arrested and pistols and sharp-edged weapons recovered from them.

A stolen car and a truck was also found in their possesssion.

The gang had injured three labourers and decamped with 27 quintal of copper wires at Prem Wire Products Factory here on July 28 morning.

The SSP said other gang members were still at large. 

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Human Trafficking
Agent accused of endangering youth’s life
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 30
If information provided by a youth of Dasaundha Singh Wala village, now settled in Malaysia, to parents of a youth of Sumel Kheri village is to be believed the lives of at least five Punjabis, who were reportedly sent from Malaysia to Poland illegally in a trailer, is at stake.

For, five of the 18 persons being trafficked illegally enclosed in a trailer, fell unconscious due to suffocation and starvation, as the trailer took three hours more than its scheduled time.

Accusing a travel agent of Dasaundha Singh Wala village in Sangrur district of duping the victims of lakhs of rupees and sending the youths abroad illegally, instead of using legitimate means as promised, the parents of the Sumel Kheri youth have urged the Khanna SSP to initiate action against him.

Payal DSP Rattan Singh Brar said action would be taken under the supervision of senior officers and in coordination with authorities in Sangrur district, where the deal for sending the youth was made.

According to Sohan Singh, a farmer of Sumelkheri village in Ludhiana, Raghbir Singh, a travel agent of Dasaundha Singh Wala village in Sangrur district, had allegedly endangered the life of his son, Hardip Singh, by first coaxing him to go abroad and then enclosing him, along with four other Punjabis, in a trailer.

The youths went missing after they fell unconscious due to suffocation and 
starvation.

“Hardip was studying in BA-I when Raghbir started coaxing him to go to Italy. When we did not agree to send our son illegally, the agent assured us of sending him through a legal channel,” stated Sohan Singh.

He said a deal was settled for Rs 15 lakh. Sohan Singh added that Raghbir left for Malaysia after receiving Rs 10 lakh and asked them to contact his brother, Sukhjit Singh, to sending Hardip to Italy.

Sohan said Sukhjit accompanied them up to Delhi to see off Hardip at the airport.

Jagjit Singh, a youth from Dasaundha Singh Wala, was also sent through the same flight.

Raghbir received the two in Malaysia but some days later he told them that Hardip had received a study visa for Poland and would be sent by train to his destination.

“But we were shocked to learn from the relatives of my elder son, Kuldip, on July 20 that Hardip had gone missing. Enquiries from Jagjit revealed that Raghbir had sent Hardip, along with other youths, on a trailer and not by train.

Jagjit apprehended that Hardip was among those five persons who had fallen unconscious during the journey.

“The agent had enclosed 18 persons, including Hardip, inside the trailer. As I was feeling unwell that day, I did not accompany Hardip. Later, it was told that five youths had fallen unconscious and nobody knew about their fate,” Jagjit told the parents of Hardip on the telephone.

The family has urged Khanna SSP Gautam Cheema to initiate action against the agent.

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Couple booked for fraud
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, July 30
Two persons were today booked on the charges of fraud. According to information, Avtar Singh and his wife Gurmeet Kaur of Bassian allegedly prepared fake papers claiming ownership of a shop belonging to Rajinder Kumar of their village. The couple then applied for grant of a loan and obtained the same against the fake documents. A case under Sections 420, 467, 471, 120-B of the IPC has been registered on the complaint of Rajinder Kumar. However, no arrest has been made so far.

Dowry case

Two persons were booked for demanding dowry in two separate incidents and cases under Section 406, 498-A of the IPC have been registered against them. Avtar Singh of Kadon was been booked on the complaint of his wife Gurpreet Kaur while Rajesh Goyal of Old Bias Dharamsala, Pehowa District, Kurukshetra, was booked on the complaint of his wife Sangeeta. No arrest has been made so far in both the cases.

4 booked

Kashmir Singh, Jiwan Singh, Surjit Singh and Mangat Singh of Baghian allegedly made racial remarks against Milkha Singh of Sukhana. A case under Section 3/4 of the SC and ST Act, and Section 471 of the IPC has been registered. Dispute over land was said to be the reason behind the incident.

1 held with contraband

Gurdeep Singh alias Kala of Brahamanwala was arrested from Johlan village and 40 kg of lahan was recovered from him. A case under the Excise Act has been registered.

Motorbike stolen

Jagtar Singh alias Soni and Ranjit Singh alias Parget Singh of Kanian village allegedly stole a motorcycle belonging to Bikram Singh alias Lucky of Sherpur Kalan from Lodhiwala village. 

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Industrialists meet PM
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 30
Local industry has urged the Prime Minister to earmark funds for micro enterprises, which are major employment generators.

A six-member delegation of the Federation of Tiny and Small Industries of India, which met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at Delhi last week, said the labour-intensive manufacturing sector is expected to absorb 10 million manpower, rendered surplus, in the 11th Five-Year-Plan.

"However, the micro sector is not in a position to create sustainable employment opportunities and separate funds need to be allocated to this sector in the 11th plan," said Joginder Kumar, president of the association.

The association said it feared that the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Act, 2006, would not be implemented.

"We feel that the government has shifted focus to small and medium enterprises instead of the tiny sector."

Industrialists sought a separate minister for micro enterprises, representation in the Planning Commission, a national commission on micro enterprises, nomination of a member from the sector to the Rajya Sabha and representation in the Economic Advisory Council and other central committees.

The members also demanded that electroplating units be exempted from service tax."The government has exempted agriculture, printing, textile processing and education from the purview of service tax. Units in the electroplating industry, too, should be accomodated."

Seeking representation on the RBI Board, commercial banks and SIDBI, the federation members said that the micro sector, which includes units with an investment of less than Rs 5 lakh, played a pivotal role in national economy as it contributed over 50 per cent of the industrial production, including khadi and handicraft.

Money Plus, no more

The Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India has decided to withdraw its Unit-Linked Insurance Plan, Money Plus, from August 15, said S.C. Dhingra, senior divisional manager, at a press conference here today.

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