L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Boy missing from lockup; ASI suspended
Jupinderjit Singh/Vijay Bansal
Tribune News Service

Jagraon, September 5
The Ludhiana(rural) police this evening suspended and booked an ASI posted as in charge of the Kaunke Kalan police post on the charge of illegally confining a Dalit teenager to illegal confinement and for dereliction of duty, leading to the boy”s disappearance from police custody.

14-year-old son of a Dalit farm labourer picked up by the Kaunke Kalan police on the charge of chain theft on last evening has gone missing from the police custody, triggering a protest before senior officials by hundreds of villagers.

However, SSP Bhullar claimed the village panchayat had given to him in writing that it knew where the boy was and would produce him before the police by tomorrow afternoon.

He said ASI Rajinder Pal along with some lower-rank cops had been suspended. “ They have violated the law for illegally confining Gurpreet of Malah village along with Vicky, son of a goldsmith.

The Kaunke Kalan police claims Gurpreet, a class VIII student, ran away from police custody, Residents of the village suspect he may have succumbed to police torture or kept illegally at some other place. Rama Singh, father of the boy, fears the worst.

The police is in a quandary not only over the inexplicable disappearance of the boy, but also the illegal detention of the two youths for a petty crime. No FIR was lodged against the two boys.

Gurpreet Singh is alleged to have found a gold chain on his way home. He showed it to Vicky. He handed it over to his fathe, who suspecting theft, contacted the village panchyat and the matter was reporte to the police.

The Kaunke Kalan police then picked up Vicky and Gurpreet Singh from their homes. This morning, when their parents along with the panchayat approached the police and inquired about their whereabouts, the police said Gurpreet had run away.

Hundreds of agitated villagers then gathered at the office of DSP Bhupinder Singh and staged a dharna. Former MLA Bhag Singh Mallah also joined the protest with his supporters.



Tribune Impact
Now, Ghumar Mandi road wide open
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 4
Driving across the Ghumar Mandi is no longer a nightmare. Thanks to the one-way traffic introduced in the market by the police, there are no traffic jams or congestion on the roads. It gives a relaxed feeling as the roads are certainly not crowded and there is no traffic chaos now.

From September 1, the traffic police started one-way traffic in the market. The residents of the surrounding areas also expressed great relief over the police measure. "Better late than never", remarked Sunil Tandon of Dayal Nagar. He said the residents would usually take the less crowded College Road. "But now we take the Ghumar Mandi route only as it no longer remains crowded and congested", he said, while hoping that this arrangement is there permanently and is not reversed for any political pressure.

Even the traders of the area seem to be satisfied with the arrangement. Earlier they had strongly resisted the move. As the traffic kept on growing and roads got congested the number of visitors to the market also came down. Now the shopkeepers are also expecting good customer turnout.

Moreover, a police official said, it was a wrong perception among the shopkeepers that the number of customers had fallen due to one-way. They said the entire circumference of the market may not be more than two km. "The customers may have to take a long drive only", he said, while adding, but it saves time and fuel now as the drive is smooth and the vehicles do not get stuck for a long time.

As the experiment is proving to be successful and much to the benefit of general public and the traders alike, the city police is planning it in other areas as well. It is learnt that representations have been made by people urging the police to introduce one-way traffic system in their areas also.



Bus stand work at snail’s pace
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 5
It’s been one-and-a-half years since construction began at the Ludhiana Bus Stand but it is nowhere near completion. This has caused a lot of harassment to the residents who have been inconvenienced due to the delay. When the work on the bus terminus started last March, the state government had claimed that it would be completed soon. However, that is not the case.
Delayed construction work at the Ludhiana bus stand has been causing harassment to the commuters.
Delayed construction work at the Ludhiana bus stand has been causing harassment to the commuters. — Tribune photo by Sayeed Ahmed

Due to the ongoing construction, entry of buses has been banned from the front side. This causes chaos as the passengers don’t know where to board a bus for different stations. Those who do not travel occasionally have to take a round of the entire complex because of the confusion.

“The other day I had to go to Delhi and I could not find out the place from where I had to board a bus. I had to look for it in the compound for more than half-an-hour,” said R.P. Gupta, a resident.

The situation worsens on a rainy days when the ground of the compound becomes swampy.

Chief general manager of Punjab Infrastructural Development Board, (PIDB) G.S. Mann was unavailable for comments. However, after calling on his office phone twice, the reporter was told that the work would be completed in October.

The contract of construction was given to a Baroda-based construction company, MSK Projects India Limited, at a cost of Rs 17 crore. The company had accepted the proposal on Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis for a period of 10 years.

The development board was the assisting authority to develop the bus stand, following which the city residents were to have a state-of-the-art structure after waiting for the past many years.

The terminus had been nobody’s baby and a victim of official apathy. It saw many assurances and plans announced by successive governments, but it always lacked the basic amenities. Unfortunately, even after various proposals for developing the bus stand, none could see the light of the day. 



Teaching gets different in Borstal jail
Asha Ahuja
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 5
Teaching just gets different when it is imparted in the four walls of a jail. For teachers of Borstal jail here, entrusted with the difficult task of educating (read reforming) jail inmates, more than making them learn the alphabets, it is about inculcating good values.

The convicts and under trials pose them a challenge and at times give them a tough time. But the difficult times are forgotten every year on Teachers’ Day when the students are thoughtful enough to pluck a flower each from the jail compound and express their gratitude to teachers.

A Tribune team caught up with five teachers, assigned for educating 85 inmates of this jail on their special day, who continue with their difficult job silently and without complaining.

‘‘They give us difficult moments at times and we have to discipline them after understanding their psychology. But when they come to us on this day showering their love and affection we forget everything. It seems they need us more than anyone on this planet, ’’ said the headmaster, Makhan Singh Brar while accepting a token of love from his student.

One is reminded of Nobel Prize winner poet, Rabindra Nath Tagore's lines, ‘‘where the mind is without fear and the head is held high’’, while the teachers educate these inmates in a veranda of the old jail barrack converted into a classroom and two dingy classrooms all barricaded properly.

‘‘When they come for their stay here, they do not know anything human. They have to be reformed continuously and when they are about to leave after going on their sentence, most of them are changed,” said Davinder Singh, who is teaching them for the last 20 years.

‘‘They are not like other children. They are away from their homes for all bad reasons. Then they are bitter with the society and ‘‘outsiders.’’ Teaching them requires a lot of perseverance. At times we have thought of requesting transfers but that seems a momentary thought,” said Davinder Kumar, science teacher of inmates.

Like him, his colleagues Jagjeet Singh, Lakhbir Singh, Amrik Singh and Kulwinder Singh also feel they have to pay back to the society for what it has given them. ‘‘And this is the most beautiful way. We are blessed that we teach these inmates, who are labeled criminals but for us they are our very own lovable students.’’ 



Trial run of local buses held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 5
The Municipal Corporation completed the trial run of the local bus service on six routes, here today.

Tata’s low rise bus started its journey from a local bus shelter near Arti Chowk and traveled on six routes.

Commissioner Vikas Partap accompanied the Municipal Corporation officials for 10 minutes from Arti Chowk. Later, the bus traveled from Jalandhar octroi post to Ambedkar Chowk, from where it proceeded to Samrala Chowk after which it reached the bus stand. From here, it traveled on the same route back.

Then, it began its journey on the second route from the bus stand to Ambala octroi post to Sherpur Chowk to Dholewal Chowk to bus stand and back.

On the third route, the bus traveled from the Chandigarh road to Samrala Chowk to bus stand and back.

Joint commissioner B.K. Gupta said the team of officials in the bus studied the feasibility of these routes, traffic bottlenecks on the way and the favourable places where the bus shelters could be erected.

Gupta added that the state government had sent the bus to Ludhiana. Similar buses would be pressed into service for carrying the passengers later on. 



Lawyers seek probe into advocate’s death
Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 5
Local Lawyers have demanded a high-level probe into the death of an advocate, Harminder Singh Kukreja, who was found murdered in a mysterious road accident near Jawaddi late last night.

Though, it appeared a vehicle hit him, a note found from the glove compartment of his scooter and purportedly written by the deceased stated he feared to be killed by an advocate and a tantrik.

Heart felt condolences were offered to the advocate. Condemning the incident, the lawyers have demanded high-level probe. A large number of lawyers were present at the time of his cremation here today. 



City's mayor to be announced tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 5
With final countdown for the constitution of Ludhiana Municipal Corporation having begun, the Shiromani Akali Dal today authorised the party president, Parkash Singh Badal to nominate the city's mayor.

A meeting of the councillors and local MLAs of the party was held at the Circuit House here today. The meeting was presided over by Sukhbir Badal, the acting president of the party.

Sukhbir remained quite evasive about the name of the mayor. He said, it is a matter of two days only as the house was being constituted on September 7, when the councillors would be administered oath of office. The mayor would also be elected the same day.

Sukhbir said, party general secretary, Balwinder Singh Bhunder, who was party in-charge for the elections to the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation would announce the name of the candidate the same day.

If the elections are necessitated, the party will issue a whip to the councillors and MLAs to vote for the candidate it nominates.

Given a comfortable majority, the SAD-BJP alliance holds in the House, there would not have been an election for the post of the mayor.



Demand to appoint practising judges
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 5
The legal cell of the Shiromani Akali Dal yesterday at a meeting sought appointment of the practising advocates as the presiding officers of the fast track Courts , tribunals and consumer Courts instead of retired judges.

The MLA and president of the cell, Harish Rai Dhanda asked the district office-bearers to furnish the list of advocates to be sent to advocate lqbal Singh Gill, secretary-general of the cell.

Dhanda said the names would be considered for the institution of legal experts. He further expressed that enrolment of the members of the cell was the need of the hour, so that the policies of the government would be cordially implemented.

Various members, speaking at the meeting, raised the demands of advocates, including appropriate measures in connection with the construction of chambers for lawyers throughout Punjab, implementation of housing scheme for the young advocates, necessary amendment in the Notary Act to make easy enrolment of an advocate as such after attaining the age of 60/65.

The members also sought the formation of panel of advocates to provide legal opinion to the needy class.



India, Pak should fight ‘common enemies’
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, September 5
Educationists and politicians should launch a campaign through seminars and the media to spread the light of friendship between India, Pakistan and Bangladesh instead of pursuing the politics of bullets. Transport minister Master Mohan Lal said this during a seminar organised by Desh Bhagat Institute of Management and Computer Sciences, Mandi Gobindgarh, on Tuesday, on ‘Building World Class Educational Institutes’. The minister, who was the chief guest, released a souvenir on the occasion.

The associate chief editor of The Tribune, A.J. Philip, while presiding over the function, declared the seminar open. He highlighted the past history including First War of Independence, entry of East India Company and its reflections on the education system of our country. Chairman, Desh Bhagat Group of Institutes, Dr Zora Singh and director Shalini Gupta welcome the chief guest and the guests from India and abroad.

“That bullets have solved no problem is evident from the results of two wars fought between India and Pakistan. Now is the time to join hands against the common enemies of illiteracy, poverty and disease,” said Izaz Ahmad Azar, former director general of Pakistan’s federal ministry of information and broadcasting.

V.K. Gupta, regional joint director, foreign trade, was the keynote speaker and Dr M.N. Bandopadhaya, director, NIT (REC) Kurukshetra, Dr Abhijit Mukherjee, director, Thapar University and Dr Nalini Tripathi, IIM, Indore were the guests of honour. Ann Woodgyer from New Zealand was the special guest.

The guest speakers laid stress on improving the quality of education by enhancing ethical and morale values, apart from providing bookish knowledge. They said modern education should be linked with different vocations and professions so as to make it job oriented. Further, they felt the need of having good infrastructure, well-experienced faculty with state of the art library and laboratories to make it a world class institute. The students should not be confined to books alone and rather be exposed to overall personality development and extra-cultural activities.



BSNL to auction vanity numbers

Ludhiana, September 5
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has introduced auction of vanity numbers for its pre-paid and post-paid subscribers here.

The auction for first 2,000 mobile numbers of new levels series 94640 and 94641 will start tomorrow, said general manager Telecom. The minimum reserve price would range between Rs 100 and Rs 3,000. Subscribers can participate in the auction to be hosted on BSNL's Punjab circle website. — TNS



Chahal fails to appear in court
Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 5
B.I.S. Chahal, former media advisor to Captain Amarinder Singh today did not appear before the local court, in attempt to murder and land grabbing case citing ill health as the reason.

Exempting his personal presence for today, the court adjourned the case for September 15. The prosecution again failed to provide the copies of all the documents annexed with the challan presented against Chahal and his six relatives despite court orders.

His hearing was scheduled for today before the court of Judicial Magistrate-Harinder Kaur Sidhu. Chahal moved an application through his counsel, seeking exemption on the ground that he was suffering from 'cervical pain' and advised bed rest by the doctor.

It was submitted in the application that when he (Chahal) was travelling from Gurgaon, he suffered cervical pain. Even he was hospitalised and advised bed rest for at least four weeks. So, his case be adjourned for atleast four weeks.

But the Judge allowed his exemption only for today and not for four weeks. All other accused were present in the court. It may be recalled that Chahal and his relatives were booked and arrested by the police on June 10, 2007, on the complaint of Harchand Singh of Daad village.



Social worker dead

Samrala, September 5
Maghar Singh (67), social worker and brother of Harpal Singh Dhillon, former chairman of the Arhtiya association, Samrala, was cremated at Shamgarh village on Wednesday. He died last evening in DMC, Ludhiana, due to heart failure.

The former MLA Amrik Singh Dhillon, the BKU president Balbir Singh Rajewal, the president of the Nagar Council Jasbir Singh Jassi were present on the cremation ceremony.

Many office-bearers of the Ahrtia association, including Jaswant Kaler, president of the Document Writers Union, Samrala, and many prominents of the area, also participated in large number in the ceremony. — OC



Parking blues

We on behalf of consumers’ forum of India like to appreciate the efforts of media particularly "Ludhiana Tribune" for highlighting problems like traffic and parking in the city. The residents have participated in this movement openly, giving their views and problems. We here like to add inspite of this administration is not taking any concrete action on coming up constructions, in the city, as parking is not maintained while constructing the same. Moreover, we can see commercial activities like shops, rehries, and stalls in all residential areas, roads, and shopping areas adding chocking in traffic movements. It looks one can do anything as per their wish. Who will control this to control the alarming situation being faced by the city.

Archna, Ashok, Garish, Rajesh, Ludhiana

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.



Woman among two held for “satta”

Khanna, September 5
Acting on a tip-off, a team of senior police officials under the supervision of SSP Gautam Cheema raided a religious shrine near the local bus stand and arrested two persons, Salma Begum and Mintu.

The police said at least eight persons were involved in the illegal activity. The gang members had been identified and teams sent to track them. The kingpin was identified as one Raju. Police sources said the matter was eing investigated. Meanwhile, a case was registered .



In High Gear
Buyers cruise onto new cars, leave old ’uns behind
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 5
The residents of this city believe in living life to the ‘T’. From the snazziest gadgets to the coolest cars, the cash-rich Ludhianavis have almost always got it right.

Now, they are switching from the used or secondhand cars to the new, shinning wheels that have hit the market. The shift has been made easier by the easy credit available by finance institutions and attractive schemes, discounts, etc, being offered by car dealers and manufacturers.

In fact, if those in the business of cars are to be believed, the sale of pre-owned cars has dropped by at least 10-15 per cent during the last 3-4 months. Nearly 100 car bazaars in the city are waiting for a reversal in this trend.

“The market for pre-owned cars has definitely been hit, particularly in the last 3-4 months. It has become much easier to buy a new car and there are a lot of attractive schemes on offer,” said Sarabjit Singh of the Ludhiana Car Dealers’ Association.

The buyers for previously-owned cars are either those who buy a first car or those who want to upgrade from an entry level to a higher segment car. However, easy financing makes it possible to go in for a new car even with lesser cash in hand. The cost factor too is taken care of, particularly in the case of entry level and mid-segment cars that record a high sales figure.

“I was undecided whether to buy a new car or a secondhand one. After contacting several dealers, I realised that if I buy an old car, not only was I at the risk of not getting a fair deal in terms of money, there could be ownership problems as well. I made down payment with the money I had kept aside, and bought a new car on easy instalments,” said Manoj Kumar, a resident.

Among other deterrents is the high commission charged by agents; at times, the actual commission is much more than what is previously stated. “Sometimes, dealers ask buyers to incur costs on the transfer of vehicle, etc. That makes many buyers wary of going in for secondhand cars,” a worker at one of the commission agents’ firm said.

“Often, one has to pay a higher interest for a secondhand car. In such cases, customers feel that if they have to get their car financed, they will rather go in for a new one,” said another car dealer.



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