L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Mayor’s Post
Bains outwits rivals
Ropes in eight Independents

Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 27
It was a long-awaited visit of Sukhbir Badal, acting president of the Shiromani Akali Dal, to the city, particularly for those who have an eye on the post of mayor.

As different groups within the party here tried to lobby hard for the post, Badal remained almost equidistant from everybody lest he convey an impression that he was encouraging a particular group.

It was again the high-profile Simarjit Singh Bains who outwitted his rivals in managing to rope in eight independent councillors to join the party. Badal had come for this function only. But that did not win Bains any instant dividends either as Badal was too non-committal.

Bains has certainly managed to score over his rivals in terms of the number of councillors in the house. SAD leaders admit that he has the support of maximum councillors in the house, particularly after eight independents joined the party yesterday.

His rivals in the race for the post of mayor like Hakim Singh Giaspura, Harbhajan Singh Dang, Pal Singh Grewal and K.L. Chhabra certainly do not enjoy that much support among the councillors.

However, the support of the councillors may not be of much consequence as the decision will be taken by the senior party leadership.

Badal is learnt to have taken feedback from councillors and local leaders regarding who could be the best candidate for the job. He has not spoken out his mind yet. It is learnt that it would take about a week for the final announcement.

Support of the councillors apart, Bains is being described to be “too young for the job as compared to his rivals”.

However, his supporters have been arguing that it was he who worked against all odds during the previous Congress regime, when most of the Akali leaders preferred to keep quiet. Although he joined the SAD late, after resigning from the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), he still made his presence felt by organising regular protests against the government.

Bains was frank enough to admit that he was a contender for the post. He said he had worked hard for the job. Not only in the corporation elections, but also in the assembly elections, he claimed to have worked tirelessly for the party. At the same time, he sought to clarify that it was the discretion of the party leadership to appoint the mayor and whosoever is appointed would be acceptable to him “as a loyal worker of the party”. “But nobody can stop me from trying my best to get the post,” he pointed out.

He is facing stiff competition from Giaspura, who has won for the fourth consecutive term. He argued that he had always been loyal to the party and never shifted loyalities. He, however, refused to comment about any of his rivals.



This Rakhi, it’s Net rise in sales
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 27
City bazars, flooded with a wide variety of Rakhis for the festive occasion, are getting competition from online marketing companies that are offering diverse options.

Sending Rakhi online is being found an attractive option by many for not just the variety but also the convenience of doing so at the click of a mouse. Online purchases, say experts, are growing significantly with growing Internet usage.

Adding to the attraction is competitive rates being offered by many websites, which also promise to deliver Rakhi well in time.

“Instead of visiting several shops and finding a perfect gift for the occasion, I opted to send Rakhi to my brother through a website. I already spend a lot of time surfing the Net and using my credit card I found it economical too to use the medium,” said Saakshi Sharma, a marketing executive.

From a price range that could begin from Rs 200 that includes gifts and flowers along with Rakhi, companies have come up with quite innovative ideas. One has the option of sending sweets apart from items like pooja thaalis, flowers, cards or gifts like watches. Users also have options to customise their gifts and opt for more expensive ones.

The Internet is being considered an option more by those who have to send Rakhis to other cities or even overseas.

“With a rise in the number of Internet users, online purchase is getting popular. Though as of now it has not created a major dent in sales of traditional shops, in the coming days it is likely to do so,” said Manjinder Singh, an avid Internet user. He added that online purchases, that were not preferred earlier, had grown to the tune of crores of rupees.



A Sister’s Rakhi Request
‘Help me find my brother’
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 27
In a last ditch effort to find her missing brother on the eve of Rakhi, a festival celebrating the spirit of brother-sister relationship, this sister is moving from pillar to post with the picture of a youth that appeared in these columns a few days ago, claiming that he was her missing brother.

Kiran, a resident of BRS Nagar, who is waiting for her 32-year-old brother, Suresh Kumar, for the past seven months claimed today that the man shaking hands with the tallest man in the country in a picture published in the main edition of The Tribune on August 5 main edition, was her brother. The tallest man, identified as Partap Singh, was shown shaking hands with an unidentified man in front of Taj Mahal.

Kiran claimed that this unidentified man was her brother. Carrying a cutting of the news report, Kiran said she had sent the photostat copies to a number of persons urging them to look for her brother. She said she was going to the police also with the picture.

‘‘The man in the picture is my brother. Please help me find him. He had the same long hair and even dressed up like him. The only thing different about him was a string of beads around his neck. He used to collect beads but never wore those. But in the picture he is wearing beads.’’ she said.

‘‘I have even contacted some TV channels, who would be telecasting his pictures so that he can be traced’’, she said.

She added that on the eve of Rakhi her pain was all the more unbearable.

Recalling the day that left a void in Kiran’s and her parents’ lives, Kiran said Suresh left their house on January 28 after having a difference of opinion with his father.

‘‘He went around 3 pm and never returned. We informed the police, who lodged a missing person’s report in the case. But nobody could find him. The picture has rekindled a hope in me that he is alive and we can find him.’’

She said she was sure that he would come back on Rakhi. He worked in Mumbai before coming to Ludhiana and every year he used to come home on this day. ‘‘I hope he keeps my faith and trust in him intact.’’



City to have modern grain market
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana August 27
Ludhiana is all set to have a state-of-the-art grain and fruit market with five mega cold stores. This would be the model grain and fruit market of the state. The Ludhiana mandi would be first in the state to be set up along the modern lines.

Disclosing this here today, Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, chairman, Punjab Mandi Board said, the board was all set to implement the Multi State Competitiveness Programme (MSCP) in Punjab, under which funds to the tune of Rs 500 crore have been earmarked by the Centre for the state with a view to improve the quality of agri-production and to strengthen the marketing infrastructure.

Lakhowal said, the Punjab Mandi Board was developing a modern vegetables and fruits market over an area of 55 acres at Ludhiana. Two phases of the market have already been developed and third and the last phase was being completed. He said, in this modern vegetable and fruit market, five cold storages of 50 MT capacity were being constructed to facilitate the farmers to keep their vegetables and fruits fresh.

He also informed that a modern system of ripening the fruits like banana, mangoes, papaya etc, six new ripening chambers of 10-tonne capacity each would be provided in this market, so that these fruits could be ripened in a scientific manner. For the cleaning and grading of vegetables and fruits, two latest machines were being installed at new Ludhiana Mandi, he added.

The chairman said, electronic display rate boards were being installed in the 50 vegetable markets in the state to keep the farmers properly informed about the prevailing rates. He called upon the employees of the market committees to extend full cooperation to make all mandis green by planting trees.

Lakhowal said, out of the total grant of Rs 500 crore, funds amounting to Rs 350 crore would be spent on the strengthening and modernisation of marketing infrastructure in the grain markets and Rs 150 crore to enhance the quality and production of agriculture produce in the state.

Referring to the further plans of the Mandi Board, Lakhowal said, the proposals of new projects costing Rs 260 crore have already been submitted to the ministry of agriculture for approval, for which, 25 per cent subsidy was to be released by the Union Government.

Lakhowal said, the chairmen of all Market Committees of the state were being appointed shortly, for this, the process has already been initiated.

Answering a question regarding the direct purchase of fruits and vegetables by private companies, he said the mandi board had no objection to the direct purchase of vegetables and fruits by these stores, but board would not allow the direct purchase of three crops i.e. wheat, paddy and cotton from the farmers and these crops could only be sold in the Market Committees.

On the financial assistance to the families of the farmers, who had committed suicide, Lakhowal said the government had decided to give financial assistance of Rs 2 lakh each to the next kin of the farmers who committed suicide during the past five years. A high level committee has been constituted to identify such cases, he disclosed.



Advocate held with contraband
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 27
He took the term lawyer-client relations too seriously and ended up adopting his client’s profession of drug smuggling while defending him in the court of law.

The Payal police nabbed advocate Krishan Kumar Rewari of Malerkotla with 10 kg opium from near Jargari Drain Bridge, near here, yesterday.

Exploiting his authority as a member of the bar council of the area, he continued with the illicit trade for years, before he was ultimately nabbed yesterday. Though Rewari was arrested at a naka laid by the Payal police, his accomplice Mohamad Sadiq is still at large.

Payal DSP Rattan Singh Brar said an informer told them that Rewari and his accomplice had been supplying narcotics and psychotropic drugs in the area for years. They were also told that the suspect would be supplying the banned drug in the area on Sunday evening. Acting on information, the police party, led by Gurmel Singh, finally nabbed the law breaker.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the advocate had been defending cases registered against some of the drug peddlers, including Sadiq. To reportedly took up the illegal practice to supplement his income.



Non-functional traffic lights spell chaos
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 27
It is almost a week now that there has been chaos and nuisance at the busy Bhai Wala Chowk here due to non-working traffic lights.

The municipal corporation, responsible for the maintenance of traffic lights, seems to be least bothered about the inconvenience commuters suffer daily because of this.

The situation has been further compounded by the fact that there are no traffic police personnel to regulate traffic till 9 am and late in the evening.

Bhai Wala Chowk is one of the busiest chowks in the city, which connects all major roads, including Pakhowal Road, Ferozpur Road, and the road connecting Bharat Nagar Chowk and Ghumar Mandi. There is generally a huge rush at the chowk with trucks, buses, cars, three-wheelers, two-wheelers and rickshaws plying on the road all the time.

A traffic cop, on condition of anonymity, disclosed that the lights had been out of order for the past seven days. He said traffic was being manually regulated by the traffic police.

He said cops tried to perform their duty religiously, but at times faced a lot of inconvenience because of the heavy traffic, pollution, hot weather and long duty hours.

“The other day, one of our colleagues collapsed due to hot weather,” he said, adding that a Chandigarh-based firm had installed the lights.

A school van driver, Raju, said it was unsafe for schoolchildren going on cycles or two-wheelers, who faced a lot of problem while crossing roads. “They should get the lights repaired as soon as possible for the safety of children,” he added.

Ludhiana Tribune spoke to Satkardeep Singh of R.R. Electronics, Chandigarh, said they had installed the lights but the maintenance part was with the MC, Ludhiana.

S.P. Singh, executive engineer, MC, said the components of traffic lights of Bharat Nagar Chowk, opposite the mini-secretariat and near Circuit House (all in VIP areas) were stolen a few days ago. An FIR had been lodged with the SSP, Ludhiana. “We hope that lights will start working within a day or two,” he said.



Parking Blues
Chaura Bazar shrinks
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 27
Chaura Bazar was once the widest of all markets in Ludhiana. In fact, it was not just a market, but the all-important office of tehsildar was also located here. And also the Kotwali police station, which is still there. It is the legacy of the Raj days. But it no longer remains so.

It has turned into one of the narrowest lanes in the city where even foot movement during peak hours becomes difficult, not to speak of vehicular traffic.

Thanks to the competitive encroaching instinct of shopkeepers of the market, almost half the road remains encroached on both sides. The shopkeepers have extended their shops right on to the road. The shopkeepers here do not end up encroaching the road themselves alone, they further rent out the space outside their shops to vendors who set up stalls to sell various things.

Chaura Bazar in Ludhiana was supposed to be developed on the lines of Anarkali Bazar in Lahore, which is also quite wide and open. But unlike Chaura Bazar, Anarkali Bazar still remains as wide as it had been designed to be. Although the rush of the people there remains as much as here, but shopkeepers seem to have spared the market.

Old timers recall the scene when Chaura Bazar was “chaura (quite wide) in the real sense”. Horse carts would cross each other when there were few vehicles. However, the market has now been reduced to a narrow lane where people avoid going even during lean hours.

Ravinder Vatsyayan, who has spent most of his childhood around the bazar recalls, “It used to be the ideal place to visit with Clock Tower on one end and the long and unending market on the other side...however, now it is difficult to believe whether it is the same old market which used to be so wide and open.”

According to residents in the surrounding areas, the market was once cleared of the encroachments in the late seventies by I.S. Bindra (of the BCCI fame), who as the commissioner of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation took personal pain in this regard. Over the years, the encroachments came up again and the market wears the same narrow look.

The bazar no longer holds the same charm for customers.

An elderly cloth merchant blamed the shopkeepers of the market for its decline more than anybody else. “We have ourselves encroached upon the market at our own cost,” he admitted, while regretting that it was fast losing its customers.



Computerisation of revenue dept by February
Our Correspondent

Samrala, August 27
The computerisation of the Revenue Department would be completed before February 2008, said commissioner, Patiala division, Patiala, S.K. Ahluwalia, today. He added that 40-50 per cent work had already been completed in this regard.

Talking to mediapersons in the office of local SDM Sukhdev Singh Mahal, Walia said the honorarium to the lambardars amounting to Rs 500 per month, which has not been paid since April 2007, would be released next month and it would probably be given to them after six months every year.

Walia, who was on inspection duty in Samrala tehsil, had already checked the offices of Gobindgarh Naib tehsildar and SDM Khanna, where he found some officials absent.

About the excess amount charged by the contractor of scooter stands, the SDM said he had been directed and instructed not to receive excess amount if any client came to the tehsil more than once.



Artificial limbs, callipers given to 30
Our Corresponden

Ludhiana, August 27
Over 30 physically challenged persons were provided free artificial limbs and callipers at a camp organised by the Bharat Vikas Parishad Charitable Trust, Punjab, here yesterday. Asha Rani Jain, the chief guest at the camp, also inaugurated an X-ray unit, installed at Hari Bassi Polio Surgery Hospital.

Speaking at the function, Pawan Aggarwal, secretary of the trust, said the Viklang Sahayta Kendra was established in 1996, and since then more than 28,000 physically handicapped persons had been provided artificial limbs, callipers, tricycles, wheel chairs and hearing aids. The trust, he added, was holding free polio surgery camps on every second Sunday for which registration and preliminary check up was conducted on every Saturday

Ajay Dutta, chairman of the zone I of BVP explained in detail the various ongoing and future projects of the trust in the city for the benefit of the physically challenged persons. He said with the installation of a state-of-the-art 500mA X-ray machine, people, particularly those from weaker sections of society, will get the X-ray facility at subsidised rate. An ultrasound machine was also in the process of being installed at the hospital, Dutta said.

A free ayurveda check up camp was also organised on the occasion in which around 100 patients were examined and given medicines free of cost.

Prominent among others present at the camp were Yash Pal Gupta, Rakesh Jain, Sunil Gupta, Romesh Jain, N.K. Jain, Satish Jain, Ajit Jain, Harish Jain, J.P. Gupta, Neelam Gupta, Dr Lajpat Rai, Dr Kuldeep Gupta, Sangeeta Soni and R.P Gupta.



Man held with smack worth Rs 2.5 lakh
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, August 27
The Ludhiana (rural) police claimed to have arrested 11 persons, including a drug peddler. While 465 gm smack was seized from the drug peddler, a sum of Rs 25,932 was recovered from nine gamblers arrested from various places.

Satnam Singh, alias Satta, son of Sukhdev Singh of Dhalle Ke in Moga district, was nabbed by a police party led by Prem Singh SHO Dehlon during patrolling. He was arrested from Kilarai Pur Ghungrana road, near here, yesterday. Smack worth Rs 2.5 lakh was seized from his possession.

Referring to information received from SHO Gurpreet Singh Bhular, the SSP Ludhiana (rural) said the accused had been actively involved in supplying narcotics and psychotropic drugs in the area for a long time. He used to bring the banned products from smugglers operating in border areas and sell them to addicts, including college students. Anwar Mohamad, son of Mohamad Latif of Gujjarwal; Inderjit Singh, son of Jarnail Singh of Sheikh Talwara; and Manjit Singh, son of Pishora Singh of Salempura in Sidhwan Bet area were arrested from Kilaraipur for gambling. A sum of Rs 24,000 was seized from their possession. Satish Kumar, son of Om Parkash of Shashtri Nagar Jagraon; Raj Kumar and Surinder Kumar, sons of Kishan Lal; Gurdev Singh, son of Surjit Singh; Hari Krishan, son of Mohan Lal; and Upkar Singh of Jagraon were also arrested under similar charges. An amount of Rs 1,932 was seized from their possession.



Escaped undertrail held with spring knife
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, August 27
The local police arrested a person from the Grain Market area and recovered a spring knife from his possession. A case under Sections 25, 54 and 59 of Arms Act was registered after the person could not produce any permit to keep the weapon. Ludhiana (Rural) SSP Gurpreet Singh Bhullar stated in a press release that the person was identified as Banjara of Jagraon who had escaped from the prison on April 7. Holding HC Inderpal Singh, HC Makan Singh and HC Shadi Ram to be responsible, a case was registered.

Son assaults woman

A resident of Amargarh Kaler, Nachhattar Kaur (52), was allegedly assaulted by her son and daughter-in-law after she asked them to hand over the money obtained after selling her husband’s land. She is currently undergoing treatment at the local civil hospital here. According to information, Inderjit Singh pursued his father Chhota Singh to sell his land and then buy more land with the money received.

Chhota Singh sold his land and reportedly received Rs 27 lakh for it. However, his son and daughter-in-law Bhupinder Kaur retained the money. When Chhota Singh and Nachhattar Kaur asked their son for the money, Inderjit Singh dilly dallied the issue.

Last evening, when Nachhattar Kaur asked her son to either buy the land or return the money, he along with his wife assaulted her.

6 held under Gambling Act

The local police arrested six people for gambling in the open near Dhobi Ghat, Disposal Road. They arrested - Satish Kumar, Raj Kumar, Surinder Kumar, Gurdev Singh, Hari Kishan and Upkar Singh -are residents of Jagraon. The police registered a case under Sections 13-A and 367 of the Gambling Act. The arrested were later released on bail.

Father-son duo attacks woman

Darshan Singh and his son Kulwinder Singh allegedly trespassed into the house of Kuldeep Kaur of Roomi and assaulted her. The local police have registered a case against the duo. According to information, Darbara Singh had some dispute with his brother and Kuldeep Kaur’s husband Karamjit Singh took the side of Darbara’s brother. The father-son duo went to Karamjit’s house. However, when they did not find him there, they allegedly assaulted Kuldeep Kaur. The injured has been admitted to the local civil hospital.

Motorcyclist hurt

A motorcyclist, Kulwinder Singh of Galib Kalan, was injured when a Maruti car hit him near Nanak Sar. According to information, Kulwinder had picked up an ASI, who had come from Amritsar, to nab a proclaimed offender from Nanak Sar. After dropping the ASI, Kulwinder was on his way back when he was hit behind by an unknown Maruti car, which fled the spot. The injured has been admitted to the local civil hospital.



Arrest of Colleague
Excise and taxation staff up in arms
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 27
The Excise and Taxation Officers Association and the Excise and Taxation Inspectors Association, Punjab, have strongly reacted to the arrest of taxation inspector Nirmal Singh by vigilance bureau on August 22 by saying that the step was unwarranted, vindictive and might have adverse effect on the process of revenue collection.

A joint emergency meeting of the two bodies held on Sunday under the chairmanship of Balkaur Singh Gill, observed that the FIR in this case was registered on October 5, 2006 and all officers concerned, as well as the staff, had joined the investigation as and when required by the vigilance bureau over the past 10 months.

“In these circumstances, the sudden arrest of Nirmal Singh has come as a bolt from the blue and the entire excise and taxation staff is in a state of shock over this undesirable and reprehensible action which smacks of vindictiveness."

Giving details of the case registered against the taxation staff, Gill maintained that registration certificates were issued by the inspector concerned in the course of discharge of duty after following the prescribed procedure as laid down in the Punjab General Sales Tax Act, 1948.

"The allegation of fraud as framed by the vigilance bureau is without any basis and it appears that some mischievous elements in the trade and industry are trying to derail the efforts of the department of excise and taxation to plug tax evasion by them and further to achieve the collection targets fixed by the state government."

The associations, he said, stood committed to the cause of the government to increase the tax collections under all circumstances, and without fear and favour.

The meeting urged the state chief minister to intervene in the matter and stop the interference of the vigilance bureau or any other agency into the day-to-day functioning of the excise and taxation department.



New marketing initiative by Fullerton
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 27
Fullerton India, a non-banking finance company, has launched a marketing programme named “Parivaar Laxmi”. Claiming the programme to be the first of its kinds in financial services sector, the company said it would facilitate housewives improve their livelihood through an incentive-based referral system.

Targeted at housewives residing in the neighbourhood of the company’s branches across the country, the company said those associated with it would be appointed as “Parivaar Laxmis”, who would refer their friends, neighbours and relatives in their social network and pass on the leads of people who are interested in loans or insurance to the neighbourhood Fullerton India branch. The Parivaar Laxmis could earn Rs 1,000 for every loan that was disbursed through the references given.

Commenting on the initiative, G.S. Sundarajan, managing director and CEO, said in a press note: “The objective is to provide opportunity for women to earn additional income to improve their social standing and at the same time empowering them economically.”



Samsung expecting jump in TV sales
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 27
Encouraged by response from this region Samsung India is expecting a 50 per cent jump in its colour television sales in Punjab this year. Buoyant on sales in this region the company announced the national launch of its new range of flat and slim fit colour television here.

“Punjab holds a significant share in our total sales which is why we decided to launch our new range at national level here," said Pradeep Tognatta, director sales, Samsung India, while addressing mediapersons here.

Stating that cash rich Punjabis are increasingly getting inclined to adopt the latest technology, Tognatta said Samsung had set a target of 50 per cent growth in CTV sales this year. To attain the target, the company's marketing endeavours would include 13 dream home road shows in the state and five more brand shops, including one in Ludhiana, this year.

Giving details of the new range, Neeraj Sethi, regional manager, North sales, said range comprises three Ultra SlimFit TM models, two SlimFitTM models and two Flat TV models.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |