L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Face-Off With Dera
Fragile calm in Mor Karima
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Mor Karima, September 3
A curfew-like situation prevails in the village following police crackdown on residents of the village and members of the Savita Action Committee seeking action against the Sant Bhurri wala dera at Talwandi Khurd.

Streets wore a deserted look with most residents either keeping indoors or fleeing fearing police arrest. The village is 5 km from here. Though the main reason for confrontation between the two is the alleged beating up of Savita, a resident of Mor Karima, in the dera premises on July 25, the immediate provocation is a religious congregation by the dera on September 5 and a parallel religious meeting by the committee.

While three residents of the village were put under preventive arrest yesterday, a SDM’s court issued summons to Savita for allegedly disturbing law and order. A heavy police force has been deployed at Talwandi Khurd to prevent lawlessness.

Miffed at the alleged one-sided police action, a delegation of villagers submitted an appeal to the DC Sumer Singh Gurjar to stop police “repression.”

They said the committee had no intention to create any trouble but the police was unnecessarily harassing them in the name of keeping providing security to the dera as per a high court order.

Hardev Singh Mulanpur said a curfew-like situation prevailed in their village as the police was repeatedly raiding houses. Other village leaders Satnam Singh, Kulwant Singh, Jaspal Singh, Baldev Kumar and Hardev Singh alleged the police was acting against the villagers as if they were “wanted terrorists”.

SHO of Dakha Balbir Singh said the police was not harassing anyone. He said the Savita Action Committee had distributed invitation cards regarding a parallel function which was to be addressed by several radical leaders.

“If they had no intention to disrupt the religious congregation of Sant Bhurri wala dera, they could have chosen some other day for the function. They had plans to cause trouble,” he maintained.

The villager leaders argued that the local police had already helped the dera head in the Savita molestation case and were now “threatening” them to stay away from the dera. “Holding a religious congregation is not only the right of the dera but also of all citizens. Our action committee is seeking justice in the Savita case. Whatever we do must not be perceived to be against the dera ,” they added.



Tax Evasion
Transport co. fined 14.10 lakh
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, September 3
The excise and taxation department has slapped a penalty of Rs 14.10 lakh on a local transporter, Patiala Transport Company on charges of transportation of goods to outstations without proper documents and payment of due taxes.

Four trucks of the company, along with seven other trucks, belonging to a sister concern - Patiala Carriers, both reportedly owned by the politically well-connected, Libra family, were impounded by senior officials of excise and taxation department and district police from local booking offices of the companies in Transport Nagar here on the intervening night of August 22 and 23, 2007.

The team which carried out this late-night raid on the transporters comprised of additional excise and taxation commissioner Harkesh Singh Sidhu, senior superintendent of police R.K. Jaiswal, deputy excise and taxation commissioner Jarnail Singh and excise and taxation officer.

Jarnail Singh informed that three teams of excise and taxation officials had conducted physical verification of goods loaded into these trucks and related documents. The total value of goods in 11 trucks, which included hosiery, readymade garments, cycle and auto parts and nut-bolts, was assessed at around Rs 1.09 crore.

He said the owners of Patiala Transport Company had came forward for release of four trucks, owned by them on payment of a penalty of Rs 14.10 lakh, which was fixed on the basis of goods in vehicles. 



Youth’s death sparks protest; 2 booked
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 3
The Government Railway Police (GRP) HAS booked two youths, Sunil and Tikki, for allegedly abetting the suicide of a Tibba road resident after a day-long agitation by the relatives and friends of the deceased.

The agitators first blocked the Tibba road by placing the body in the way and later reached the railway police station in a procession in the evening.

The trouble began when the mutilated body of the victim Sunil Kumar, a resident of Ram Nagar, Tibba Road, was found from near the railway tracks late in the morning. The railway police treated it as an accident or suicide case.

However, the relatives insisted the youth was murdered. He allegedly used to gamble in lotteries and had a tiff with some youths. The two youths, Sunil and Tikki, took him from home yesterday. He was quite upset when he returned last evening.

Pawan Kumar, father of the deceased, said he had left home early in the morning and later his body was found. The GRP officials said it was not murder.

Later, when the body was being taken for cremation, the mob turned unruly and staged a dharna, causing traffic jams for two hours. They proceeded to the GRP station when local cops convinced them the GRP was the right authority to take up the matter.

Railway sources said they booked Sunny and Tikki under Section 306 of the IPC for allegedly forcing Sunil to commit suicide. No arrest has been made so far.



More one-way roads in the offing
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 3
Close on the heels of the Ludhiana administration making the Ghumar Mandi road as one way for vehicular traffic, the authorities will do the same on Rani Jhansi Road, College Road, Cemetry Road and the road between Jagaron Bridge and Fountain Chowk.

The administration is all set to make a formal announcement in this regard shortly. Besides, the pressure is also to be eased on the Mall Road.

In fact, a majority of the roads identified in the first phase form a part of the Civil Lines area. The vicinity of the entire area houses major government offices, markets, general commercial areas and hotels. The move is important in the context that the city has at least a dozen spots, each measuring approximately 150-200 metres, which are witness to major traffic congestion throughout the day, wasting important time of the public.

Confirming the development, a senior police official of the administration said "we are working out the passageways for complete citizen facilitation on the roads. One-way traffic has been identified as the biggest possible method for easing the citizen woes."

A police survey has identified improper utilisation of the parking space by certain shopping malls which led to the traffic flowing on to the city roads. The parking on the roads is also haphazard at a number of places. A detailed plan is being chalked out to earmark clear parking areas.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Ishwar Singh, the DIG, said, "Traffic management without active citizen participation is nearly impossible. In the first place, the residents need to get together and start car pools. Residents just need to show a little interest and make rounds of the neighbourhood. School and college-going children and even office-goers have a big potential for the pools and the scheme has been tried out successfully at a number of places all over the country and even abroad. The NGOs and shopkeepers are also being made partners during consultations."

The administration has started work on earmarking road points where slip roads can be constructed. Slip roads are seen as an effective mechanism to ease the traffic rush, at least near the bends. All roundabouts in the city will have the traffic lights installed to avoid the rush at the bends.

Another problem area identified is the overgrowth of bushes and ornamental trees on various road dividers. “Technically speaking, at least 50 feet before the roads unite or the traffic lights, the sight should be clear for the traffic on both hands.



City Centre Project
Badal for early solution
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 3
In a strong signal towards settling the dust in the storm of the City Centre scam, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said yesterday that it was unfortunate that several innocent persons, who had invested in the project, continued to suffer due to pendency of the investigations into the case.

Badal said the state would work on facilitating an immediate solution to the issue. He acknowledged the fact that the investment into the project worth crores was stuck up. It included hard-earned money of several innocent persons.

It is worth mentioning that the preliminary inquiry into the scam, which had come to light in September, 2006, revealed that the scam caused an estimated minimum loss of Rs 1,500 or Rs 3,000 crore to the state exchequer. The chartered accountants associated with the inquiry put the loss estimates at a minimum Rs 1,500 crore.

The inquiry also hinted at the involvement of former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, local bodies minister Jagjit Singh and former chairman of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust P.S. Sibia in the project deal. It was also pointed out that a minimum Rs 100 crore could have exchanged hands in the deal.

Certain officials of the Today Homes and Infrastructures Limited and their agents were also named in the inquiry report. The alleged expose of the scam vindicated the stand of former trust chairman Ashok Singh Garcha who had resigned in June, 2004, alleging corruption beyond his control in the project. 



Principals meet education minister
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 3
A deputation of the Association of the Punjab School Education Board, Affiliated Schools, Punjab met Upinderjit Kaur, education minister, Punjab Government, Chandigarh, Pavitter Pal Kaur, secretary board, Jagtar Singh Khatra, DPI secondary, Harcharan Kaur Brar, DPI elementary and other officials of the board under the presidentship of Rajinder Sharma here yesterday. I.M. Dutta vice-president, R.L. Sewak, Sukhpal Singh, district president, Ludhiana and others representatives from various districts of the state were 
also present and they put the difficulties confronted by the affiliated schools 
before them.

The deputation discussed various problems with the education minister and the minister listened to the delegation and assured them that due action would be taken to sort out their problems.

The delegation said to the the education minister that affiliated schools of the state have played a prominent role in the development of the state.

It has been stated that Punjab School Education Board requires 1½ acres of land infrastructure for +2 classes in the city schools and 3 acres of land in rural areas schools. In the populated city areas it is not possible.

It has been requested that the government should cancel this rule. The minister assured that schools affiliated up to 1998 will be permitted to start evening classes.

The association requested the education minister that electricity charges of the schools should be counted in terms of domestic basis as they strive for serving education.

It may be mentioned that these schools do not get any grant or aid form the government and all schools are independent schools serving the nation.

The association requested the education minister that buses which are owned by educational institutions, trusts, educational societies must be exempted from 
the payment of special road tax. 



Warm farewell to lecturer

Ludhiana, September 4
Prof Harpal Singh Batra, the senior most lecturer of Gujranwala Guru Nanak Khalsa College was given a warm farewell here recently. Prof Batra taught Political Science for the last 37 years and was heading the department of political science.

His services were highly appreciated by the concerned authorities and the staff as well for his innovative methods of teaching and his amicable and cooperative nature towards students and his fellow colleagues. He was very popular amongst the students and college staff.

Principal Dr T.S. Anand highlighted his contribution to the college in different fields. Dr Gurpreet Singh, staff secretary touched important aspects of his life while addressing the farewell ceremony.

Davinder Kaur Batra, principal Nankana Sahib Public School thanked the Management, principal and staff for their warm support. She said retirement should be taken in a positive way, as a next phase of life and not the last stage of life. — TNS



Rise in marital disputes: Cell
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 3
If the data collected from the Crime Against Women (CAW) cell is any indication, there has been a definite increase in crime against women in the district.

Police officials say a majority of marital dispute cases end up in a reunion.

The cell was opened in September 2001 with 203 complaints. As many as 90 couples were reunited and 25 got divorce in 2001.

Till August 21 this year, the number of complaints went up to 1,155 (new complaints) and 256 are pending. Out of this, 1192 complaints have been disposed off with the reunion of 529 couples,193 couples were divorce, 17 cases were recommended for an FIR, 453 cases were filed and 259 are pending.

SSP R.K. Jaiswal, talking to Ludhiana Tribune, said the main objective of the cell was to settle the cases amicably. The police department planned to revive the crime against children cell. "For this a thorough training will be provided to the department officials."

One of the panel members, an NGO, on condition of anonymity, said: "These days the girls, being well-educated, do not tolerate interference by the in-laws. Frustration comes if the husband is less educated.



UK-based doctor poet felicitated
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 3
A cultural programme was organised by Dhan Pothohar Brotherhood Punjab at the Punjabi Bhawan here yesterday. Tara Singh Aalam, a renowned poet and singer from London, was the chief guest and N.S.Nanda, president, presided over the function.

Welcoming Aalam, Nanda appreciated his dedication and contribution towards poetry and spiritualism. Aalam is a homeopathic doctor practising in London. Aalam left India about 15 years ago. Spirituality is his favourite topic and he is the chief editor of the Punjabi literary and spiritually magazine ‘Sahib’. He writes poetry on all kinds of subjects.

Aalam applauded the work of Nanda and Dhan Pothohar Brotherhood Punjab, which is rendering lot of social and literary work for the last so many years.

A cultural programme was also presented on the occasion. Many famous poets recited the poems. Aalam also narrated some of his poems on the Pothohari culture, which were highly appreciated.

Aalam was also honoured with the Award of Excellence for his achievements by Nanda and other members of the brotherhood.

M.S. Suri, P.S. Vij, K.S. Jaggi, G.S.Sibal, Bhupinder Singh Kochar and Jasbir Singh Vij also spoke on the occasion. 



‘Tsunami made me do something for public’
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 3
Anbu Charles is cycling his way through the cities and villages of the country to spread the message of clean environment and good health. Starting from his hometown Namakkal in Tamil Nadu on April 22, 2005, Charles has so far cycled 25, 000 km and wants to cover 10, 000 more.

Today he reached Ludhiana on his bicycle. He said, it was tsunami that moved him to do something for public good. He said, he had seen death from closer quarters. Once tsunami was over, it left a tale of death and destruction. It was an irony that water was all around, but there was nothing to drink.

He felt that the way natural resources were being exploited, these might become extinct within a short period. That is why he is spreading the message of using bicycles. He said, although he did not have any figures as how much fuel will be saved by using bicycles and the foreign exchange, but he was sure it would certainly save huge money.

Not just that, it would also help in green and clean environment. There would not be any air or noise pollution. Besides cycling will help people stay fit as they will not gain any extra weight.

He has travelled across most of the states, besides Nepal. Now he plans a journey to the SAARC (the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) to spread his message. He said, wherever he went, people appreciated his effort and agreed with his mission.



Armed men take away truck
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 3
Panic struck the place last night when a group of armed persons forcibly entered a spun pipe factory at Jhammat village, near here, and ran away with a truck taken at gun-point from the driver.

While the intruders thrashed the driver and some workers, owner of the factory saved their life by hiding in a room. The Payal police has initiated investigations into the incident.

The suspects were identified as office-bearers of the recently constituted Truck Operators Union Malaudh.

Meanwhile, the truck was found overturned in fields along the Jhamatt- Sihar road later. The group of armed robbers allegedly entered the premises of Shri Pipes, situated near Jhamatt village, last night and ran away after thrashing Jasbir Singh, son of Gajjan Singh of Kularh village and some other workers. The miscreants who came in a Tata Sumo drove away the truck (PB 10 AT 0215) after snatching the keys of the vehicle at gun-point. Sanjiv Kumar Singla, one of the partners of the factory, saved his life by hiding himself in office room.

Naveen Kumar, SHO Payal, said an FIR would be registered after verification of allegations levelled by the complainant. 



Fashion spells bane for hosiery manufacturers
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 3
Growing fashion consciousness is giving hosiery industry a tough time. As most units engaged in this business are small and medium scale, it would still take a few years for them to learn facing this challenge, say market experts.

Even as production in hosiery industry has arrived its peak, manufacturers are unsure whether they would be able to generate as much business as they did last year.

"Unlike earlier, buyers are hesitant to place bulk orders. It has become very difficult to determine the nature of demand due to constantly changing fashion trends. Now most manufacturers are waiting for winters to arrive so that they can cater to demand accordingly," said Vipin Dhand of Readymade Hosiery Manufacturers Association.

Industrial sources say that bulk orders, which manufactures start getting from June onwards, were not so encouraging this time.

The situation would be clearer only after around a month with the arrival of winters.



Cycle parts association elections on Sept 21
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 3
The elections for the office bearers of the Untied Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association will be held on September 21. The decision was taken at the 40th annual general body meeting of the association held here today. Mohinder Singh Bhogal, chairman, Bhogal Group of Industries, was the chief guest.

G.L. Pahwa, president of the association, K.K. Seth of the Neelam Cycles and Ajit Singh Kular of the Kular Cycles were also present in the meeting. Varinder Kapoor, general secretary of the association, informed that the final list of candidates would be decided by September 13. Kamalinder Singla of Canan Forging would be the presiding officer on the occasion.

The members of the association discussed various industry related issues during the meeting. The industrialists said delay in Value Added Tax (VAT) refunds was causing problems for industry. They said the problem of delay had not been solved despite repeated requests to the government. 



A small exhibition with big theme
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana September 3
It was just a 16-panel exhibition, "Seeds of Change; the Earth Charter and Human Potential". The local chapter of the Bharat Soka Gakkai (BSG) said, "It is not just another exhibition of photographic panels, it's different...with a heart, a soul and a conscience". It certainly tried to prove so.

Punjab Agricultural University and UNESCO are co-organising the event.

The panels set up in the corridors of the Paul auditorium sought to prove that the exhibition was "different". The panels, which were primarily in English, had also been translated into Hindi with interpreters explaining the message to the students who had been brought from various schools.

According to Geeta Bector, the local coordinator of the BSG, quite a number of students from various schools came to see the exhibition and were quite impressed by it. As the text of the introductory panel amply illustrated, "no matter how complex global problems may seem, it is ourselves who have given rise to them. They cannot be beyond our power to resolve". A message such as this, and examples which illustrate the point, provide a hopeful and refreshing perspective on a topic that readily provokes a response of bleak despair.

Initially created by the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) and the Earth Charter Initiative for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, now updated exhibition links panels on the state of the world with a message about the potential of even one individual to make a positive change. It is structured around the Earth charter - a declaration of ethical principles for building a just, sustainable and peaceful society- and presents the charter as a tool for understanding and achieving the vision of a sustainable world.

This exhibition is being used as a key recourse by the SGI and Earth Charter-related organisations in their efforts to promote sustainable development in countries around the world. Its purpose is to offer inspiration and hope, as well as facts and information.

Three panels are devoted to explaining the Earth Charter. These describe the charter as a blueprint for sustainable development which gives a concrete breakdown of what the elements of a sustainable future should be. The panels describe the birth of the charter, present its principles and show how it can be and has been used as an effective resource for education for sustainable development.

Preceding these is an introduction of the concept of sustainable development, perhaps most succinctly expressed as development that addresses the needs of the present without jeopardising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

She said may be there were greater expectations, but the exhibition did convey the message very well among the students. She pointed out that since it was moving from place to place and country to country it had to be compact. "What matters is the message and it was going through well," she said, adding that it was being taken to different schools to have an impact on the mind of the young students.

The 15-minute movie that was shown in the auditorium during the exhibition seemed to convey the better message with some bites from the Nobel laureate, Wanghari Mathaai who revolutionised tree plantation in Kenya. Besides the successful rain water harvesting story of Rajasthan was also quite impressive. 



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