L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Robbery at OBC
2 youths decamp with Rs 7 lakh
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

It had to happen

  • The bank was without a security guard for more than a year
  • The cashier's door was not bolted as required under the law
  • The burglars' alarm was non-functional. 

Ludhiana, September 6
Two youths with faces muffled reportedly looted Rs 7 lakh at gunpoint from Oriental Bank of Commerce, Tagore Nagar branch, here this afternoon.

While the police said a security lapse on the part of the bank had resulted in the robbery, employees said the robbers had dared to enter the bank in broad daylight.

According to eyewitnesses, the robbers first targeted clerk Veena and pointed a gun towards her. She tried to raise the alarm but was warned against it.

Then, they went to cashier Ram Lal and forced open the door of his cabin. They collected everything from the chest and put the money in a polythene bag and disappeared.

SSP R.K. Jaiswal said the bank was without a security guard for more than a year.The cashier's door was not bolted as required under the law and to cap it all, the burglars' alarm was not functioning either.

The bank cashier told the police that the youths appeared to be less than 25 years of age.They had barged into the bank at about 3.30 pm and were out within 10 minutes.

While one of them forced him to hand over the cash, the other held back the employees at gunpoint. No bank employee could give the police a description of the robbers or the vehicle used by them. Further investigations are on.



Goodbye to cooked food on platforms
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, September 6
If the proposal mooted by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) and approved by the ministry of railways is given effect in the next couple of days, some one dozen category I railway stations in the Ferozepur Division, including Ludhiana, will be turned into cooking-free zones with no food or snacks allowed to be prepared on the railway platforms.

Even though the railway ministry was understood to have conveyed this decision to the divisional headquarters of Northern Railway at Ferozepur with Sept 10 as the tentative date for implementation of the decision, local railway officials had received no instruction in this regard, and for the vendors, cooking and selling snacks and food items at the railway station, business was as usual.

According to highly placed sources in the railway administration, it was intended to disallow cooking and preparation of snacks on railway platforms once the IRCTC proposal was implemented. All food and snacks like chana-bhatura, kulche-chane, poori-sabzi, samosas and pakoras, prepared and sold by the vendors on handcarts or kiosks on the railway platforms will have to be prepared outside, and thereafter brought to the railway platforms in hot cases for sale.

The proposal, however, appears impractical and illogical to the vendors on the railway station, who maintained that even the passengers, particularly in Punjab region, will resent the food and snacks, kept in the hot case.

Talking to the Ludhiana Tribune at the railway platform, a vendor Charanjit, who sells freshly prepared pooris with accompanying 'aloo-bhaji’ or ‘chanas' and ‘pakoras’, said even now some of the passengers complained that pooris or sabzi were cold or not fresh. "This is so when I prepare all this stuff freshly and in front of the people on my handcart. Who will eat pooris and other food items kept in a hot case," he asked glumly.

Not only this, depending on weather conditions, food stored in hot cases, also tended to get spoilt if there were no arrangements for heating at regular intervals, he added. In such cases, either the travelling public will get stale food and snacks or else, the vendors will have to suffer huge losses.

Another vendor Agya Ram who offers kulchas and chanas for sale on a pushcart on the platform echoes similar views.

The senior divisional commercial manager of Northern Railway Rajesh Dharmani, stated to be away to Delhi, could not be contacted for comments after repeated attempts.



Pulls & pressures for VIP numbers
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 6
Seekers of special registration numbers for their vehicles in the city are up in arms against the district authorities for not issuing them these numbers despite official orders. The offices of the transport authorities are flooded with directions from "political higher-ups" and signed orders from the department officials concerned.

The authorities have their hands tied up because of a freeze by the Punjab government that is working on a draft policy of amendments under the Punjab Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Rules, 2007. The draft is lying with the department for a formal nod for the past more than two months. This has led to the transport authorities facing the music daily.

A businessman said on condition of anonymity he had his documents signed by the authority concerned for allocation of a number in the CB series. He also made the payment. A new officer came and stayed the orders. The businessman also flaunted his connections with a minister. The transport authorities expressed their helplessness because of the freeze orders.

The entire city is flooded with vehicles having temporary number plates. Officially, the cars cannot display the temporary numbers for more than a month. The officer said, "These cars can be challaned. A majority of the cars in this category are those awaiting auction for a VIP number. As the mater is pending, we are not challaning the commuters on roads".

The draft policy for new registration says all the registration numbers in the sixth schedule will be allocated to the car owners through auction. The reserve price for 0001 has been proposed as Rs 50,000; Rs 10,000 for registration numbers 0002 to 009; Rs 3,000 for numbers between 0010 and 1000; and Rs 1,000 for other reserved numbers. Besides the prescribed numbers, the list of proposed numbers for auction includes fancy numbers like 1111, 2222, 3333, 1212, 1313, 2233, 5577, 7000 and 9000, apart from others.

The draft for the amendments says that if the owner of the motor vehicle holding any of the numbers in the sixth schedule (from a previous series) wants to participate in a fresh auction, he will be charged half the reserve price.

The unutilised special numbers can be assigned to government vehicles, without charging any additional fee. It has also been pointed out that the registering authority, on exhaustion of the current series, shall put a stamp (block) on unutilised fancy numbers .

Chander Gaind, the district transport officer(DTO), said, “The amended policy of registration numbers is yet to be notified by the state and new decisions can be taken only when we get the fresh orders".



Chak De’s Balbir is impatient
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 6
Tanya Abrol, Balbir Kaur of “Chak De”, is similar to her reel life character, in at least one way. She is impatient.This newcomer expects one and all to know her well. At least that is what mediapersons felt during an interface at PVR Cinema in Flamez Malls here today.

"You should have known the details beforehand," the one-film-old Abrol told mediapersons when asked about her background.

Dressed in a knee-length brown skirt and a cream top, Tanya, said she was quite comfortable playing the character. "I am a little similar to the character as I am a player and a Punjabi," she said.

About the film, she said her selection for the role came as a surprise to her as she had never planned to become an actor. "I cleared the audition and it just started. As for training, it was all at Yash Studios."

The shooting was interesting and so was working with Shah Rukh Khan, whom she met for the first time at the playground.

A final-year graduation student at MCM DAV in Chandigarh, said she planned to complete her graduation before adopting acting as a full-time career. "So far, I have not signed any new roles though offers are pouring in." She said she wanted to do quality films.

Regarding her experience in Bollywood, she said it was not an easy journey. "You find highly experienced people there. Survival is not easy. But you have to have your confidence. That is what my strength is."

As to how life had changed for her, the haughtiness was again vivid: "You can see the change, like you are all here to interview me.."



'Please save my father, sahib’
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 6
Fear reflects from this seven-year-old and motherless Ramdin’s eyes, whose father was treated brutally by Ludhiana police a week ago and later arrested following highly controversial allegations of disturbing law and order in the area.

Chander Pal, a rickshaw puller was allegedly treated as a petrified criminal by the police and beaten black and blue before his son, dragged out of the house at midnight and kept in illegal confinement.

He was later booked under Sections 107, 151, CrPc. However, the minor boy, alleged that the fault of Chander Pal was to stop a pan seller and his wife, who works in the house of some influential persons, from quarreling in a street. The couple and their alleged supporters beat him up for that in return and the police picked him up. Having no other relative to support him, he is left to struggle on his own.

The boy has somehow learnt that someone needs to furnish bail for his father if he wants him out of the jail. Investigations revealed that Chander Pal has no criminal background . Narrating the tale of events that has left him shocked till bones, Ramdin said two cops barged into his house at night; beat his father while dragging him out.

Ramdin said the cops at Sarabha Nagar police station did not allow any one, including him to meet his father. After struggling for three days to meet his father, he was told that his father was shifted to central jail. He went all the way from one end of the city to another, travelling over 15 km and met his father. "He seemed to be injured badly. He was not able to keep one of his arms straight. Please save him sahib,’’ begged Ramdin.

SHONavreet Singh said Chander Pal had a fight on the street and was arrested under the preventive action. ‘‘He was booked under these sections. We did not do anything to him. We produced him before a magistrate and he was sent to jail. Whether he is to be bailed out or not is not my problem.’’



City Centre
Delay alarms investors 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 6
The SAD-BJP government might boast of unearthing infamous City Centre scam but the residents of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar and real estate agents are sick of the suspension of work at the site.

They aired their grievances to their area councillor, Tanvir Singh Dhaliwal during a function organised at the inauguration of lights in a park of E-block.

The residents said they wanted that the work on the project was finished soon. Otherwise an incomplete work in their neighbourhood always had a disadvantage.

They said the property had also suffered a major set back as there were no buyers in the area. ‘‘We bought properties at skyrocketing prices. Now the prices have frozen and we are not able to do anything, ’’ they added.

The real estate agents of the area said that the Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal’s recent announcement of restarting the work had rejuvenated hope among themselves.

Japnam Singh, an agent, said they wanted that the work was restarted. Only if the work on the project is restarted we would get buyers and sellers.

Dhaliwal said the state government was of the view that the project could not be abandoned due to some corrupt politicians.

‘‘It would restart soon. The state government is working towards it. But I do not know what is the time frame when the it would take off ’’, he said. 



Traffic to be tamed on Ferozepur road
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 6
After a gap of nearly six years and much wrangling by the Municipal Corporation, traffic movement at the busy Ferozepur road would become smooth with the installation of boulders or traffic cones, which divide the road for uninterrupted flow of vehicles at several T-point red lights.

The T-point red lights with three roads from both sides entering the Ferozepur highway had become major traffic snarl points. So high is the number of t-points that vehicles had to stop after few hundred meters only.

The boulders allow traffic on the left lane to keep moving irrespective of the lights. The cones were installed in 1999 during the tenure of former commissioner S.S. Sandhu. These had however disappeared in 2001 and were never replaced.

Since then the traffic department of police has been banging their heads against walls requesting the MC to provide the infrastructure to ensure smooth flow of traffic. But all this had been falling on deaf ears.

The MC has finally obliged now with the direction of commissioner, Vikas Partap. 



Demand for ‘ghar ka khana’ boosts tiffin service
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 6
Treading footsteps of the famous ‘Mumbai dabbawalas', tiffin suppliers in the city are cooking another success story; their flourishing business is an indication of this.

Thanks to the growing number of professionals and students in this industrial town, the aroma of home cooked food provided by tiffin suppliers is fast reaching city offices and students.

And with ample variety being offered, food at a price range starting from Rs 25 a meal onwards, tiffin service is not only opted for its quality and hygiene but also low price.

"After I was transferred here, food became a big problem. I not only got tired of eating the oily, heavy stuff outside, it also made me ill. Now I get a tiffin. The food is great, they supply at my convenience and it is economical too," said Nitish Sharma, a marketing professional.

Sharma, like many others, had no option a couple of years back. However, the scenario has reversed now and today not just those already engaged in food business but freshers like housewives too are busy exploiting this business opportunity.

"I wanted to start my own business but there were a lot of hurdles right for initial investment to infrastructure, connections and time. Besides, I was a homemaker. Then I decided to supply tiffins, which turned out to be a good decision as with a low investment I manage easily," said Namita Jain who supplies tiffins from her place located on Pakhowal Road.

Despite being relatively new, this field is not devoid of competition to survive which each supplier tries to ensure that he does not compromise on quality and offers more variety too. At Rs 30, one can get daal, subzi, alongwith chapatis, salad and even a dessert.

The service is a boon for office goers, students, singles and even working couples who do not get enough time to cook due to work pressures. "We are supplying lunch to the entire staff in a couple of banks and other offices. Many others work in a similar fashion. Lunch is the most popular meal, followed by dinner," said another tiffin supplier, who offer catering services for parties as well.

The market, say those in the trade, is constantly growing. "So are the options. We do not mind cooking special meals for our customers if they demand so. We are also planning to begin supplying breakfast. Afterall, if one is to survive in the market, one has to offer good services." 



Youth Congress to enrol 7 lakh members 
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh,September 6
The state youth-Congress chief Vijay Inder Singla said there was no infighting for the post of the state Congress chief as the Congress party is a disciplined national force. Any person given this responsibility by Congress president Sonia Gandhi would be welcomed by all the workers, he added.He said this at the residence of the district youth Congress president Sandeep Singh Ball here yesterday.

Singla offered to hold a debate with any minister on the poor performance of the SAD-BJP government on all fronts, which has failed to supply Atta-Dal, thefts in godowns, hike in petrol prices, stamp duty, withdrawal of development schemes launched by the previous government, deterioration in law and order etc.

The youth leader was here on a membership drive, which was launched on August 29 by the All-India Youth Congress president, Ashok Tanwar in Patiala. A target to enroll 4 lakh members and 40, 000 active workers was fixed but the response from eight-district conferences seemed to double the target of membership, said Singla.

To create awareness, a march would be organised in each block of the state. The block returning officers have been appointed in each block of the state. Identity cards would be issued to each member, Singla said. Later, Singla addressed a meeting at Ambedkar Bhawan here. 



Muslim undertrials assured of facilities during Ramadan
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 6
To ensure that the Muslim undertrials and convicts get all the facilities during the month of Ramadan in jail, the All India Majlis Ahrar Islam has urged upon CM Parkash Singh Badal to provide them special space for performing ‘namaaz’ and fresh and warm food during ‘sahari’.

In a meeting with jail minister Hira Singh Gabria, Ahrar general secretary Mohammad Usman Rehmani urged upon him to provide special place in barracks for the Muslim convicts and undertrials.

In a signed statement here today, Rehmani said Gabria had assured him that the needful would be done and the Muslim undertrails and convicts would be provided with all these facilities.

“The minister said he was very happy that we had taken up the issue of those Muslims in jails who wanted to remain attached to religion. We also requested that whosoever is keeping the fasts be provided with 200 gm milk each,” he said.



All eyes on mayor’s selection today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 6
Acting president of the SAD, Sukhbir Singh Badal, said an educated and healthy councillor would be the mayor of the city. Both Simarjit Singh Bains and Pal Singh Grewal are keeping their fingers crossed for tomorrow’s general house meet.

Sukhbir’s statement to mediapersons threw curtains on the efforts of other contenders, including Hakim Singh Gyaspura and KL Chhabra Gyaspura. The name of the mayor would be declared tomorrow. The supporters of Grewal and Bains kept on swearing for their candidates and said they would have the last laugh as their leader would make it to the post.

Bains, when contacted said he did not have any idea who would be the mayor tomorrow. He he would accept the party's decision as a loyal soldier.

On the other hand, Grewal said he did not know what the destiny had in store for him.‘‘Come what may, it is finally going to be the party's decision. Whatever they do is acceptable to me. ’’ he said.

Meanwhile, the MC is making all arrangement for the oath taking ceremony where 75 councillors would be taking oath tomorrow. 



Police busts gambling racket
Tribune News Service

Khanna, September 6
Acting on a tip-off, a team of senior police officials - under the direct supervision of SSP Gautam Cheema - raided a religious place located behind the local bus stand and arrested two persons for running a betting racket from there yesterday.

The two, who were identified as Salma Begum and Mintu, had been running the illegal business from the shrine.

The police said there were at least eight people who were involved in the illegal activity. The gang members had been identified and teams had been dispatched to track down the accused persons and their kingpin Raju, a police official said.

Police sources said the matter was still being investigated.

Meanwhile, a case under relevant sections of the IPC was registered against the accused.



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