L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Accident: Students block NH-1
Youth’s body lay on road for hours
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 26
Hundreds of students of Medium Scale Micro Enterprises College (MSME), along with activists of various student unions, blocked NH-1 near Giaspura for nearly three hours in protest against the “inhuman handling” of the body of a student who died in a road accident yesterday. They also protested against the failure of the police to catch the truck driver responsible for the mishap.

The dharna was lifted after the police assured the students of stringent action against the PCR cops who allegedly let the body of Satvir Singh lie on the road for three hours after he was run over by the truck the previous morning.

The students said the cops had stopped the truck after a chase but the driver “ran away mysteriously”. The truck was unloaded before being taken to the police station.

Traffic at the busy four-lane road was hit due to the blockade, causing long queues of stranded vehicles. The police had to eventually divert the traffic from the Sherpur chowk and the Dhandari overbridge.

Commuters got late for their destination and industrial goods being transported in trucks were also delayed.

Vishwajit, a representative of the students, said Satvir, a resident of Shimla Puri, was coming to the college when he was run over by the truck. No one picked him up. By the time his classmates reached the site, he was dead.

The body was not shifted even though a team of PCR cops had reached there early. They had intercepted the truck also. The cops allegedly did not call an ambulance.

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Punters
Fleeing trader’s son hit cop
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 26
An alleged punter, who attempted to run away over a police inspector in Sarabha Nagar market, to avoid arrest for gambling on cricket last evening, has turned out to be the son of an industrialist.

Police investigation has identified the youth as Luv Kumar, whose father Rajinder Narang owns a cycle manufacturing industry, Best Cycles, in Muradpura.

The youth lived in Urban Estate Phase-I, Dugri. He had won Rs 38,000 in betting over the Indo-Pak T20 cricket world cup final.

Disclosing this, inspector Navreet Singh, SHO, Sarabha Nagar, told Ludhiana Tribune that Accent car (no. PB-10 BN 2066) driven by the youth has been recovered from his house. It has been impounded. The car has a dent and a scratch of brass belt of the inspector when the car hit him. A case for attempt to murder was already registered.

The identification has strengthened the police claims that the rich and affluent class of the city was the main player in the illegal gambling on cricket.

Meanwhile, the police have sought call details of the numbers of the five mobile sets recovered from the accused gamblers, Jasbir Singh and Ashu Arora. The police was also in the process of transcribing the eleven audio-cassettes recovered from the accused.

The cassettes contain recording of the telephone conversation between the gambler and the punters on various cricket matches held in August and September. The police was also trying to identify the punters, whose initials were written in the diary maintained by the arrested gamblers.

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Throwing waste in Budha Nullah banned
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 26
Apparently in a knee-jerk reaction to a complaint by senior IAS officer P. Ram, who is heading the committee to monitor the cleaning of the Budha Nullah, that the district administration was not cooperating with it, the local administration today issued a ban on the disposal of solid waste into the nullah.

The ban orders issued by the district magistrate under Section 144 of the CrPC will remain in force till November 26.

The magistrate in his order said, “Information has been placed before me that some people are dumping solid waste in Budha Nullah which endangers the life and health of the society at large”.

Most of the solid waste generated in the city is dumped mainly in the nullah, which has led to its choking.

The industry in general had pointed out that it only contributed 13 per cent to the total waste generated in the city. The remaining 87 per cent waste was generated from households.

The industry also claimed that the waste generated by it in the form of effluents was treated and hardly had any impact on the quality of the water.

Although the administration is learnt to have issued strict instructions about imposing the ban orders, it may not achieve its purpose. Huge waste is disposed of in the nullah, not only within the city limits, but also in the peripheral areas.

Moreover, the areas near the nullah have no other outlet for waste disposal.

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Man posing as VB official nabbed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 26
The police has caught a youth Bhawan Preet Singh on the charges of allegedly posing as an inspector of the local vigilance bureau and possessing a fake identity card.

The SSP had stopped him during a naka as his Accent car had black film on the windows. He told the police that he was an inspector and showed his identity card also. However, inquiries from the vigilance bureau proved that he was fake.

The police is questioning him to find out the motive behind the fake identity.

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De-addiction: Not by counselling alone
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 26
“I went to two deaddiction centres, separately.They offered nothing more than speeches. I am an MBA without any professional opening matching with my education. Drinks, at least help me forget my trouble”.The outburst by Amandeep Singh best sums up the sentiments of a manager who failed in his attempts to quit drinking at a de-addiction centre.

His case is not the only one as drug and alcohol menace is eating into the vitals of the urban and rural population at a menacing pace. The addicts feel NGOs needs to widen their agenda for better results with support from the government, friends and family members.

At the moment, the residents don’t expect magical results because politicians and influential persons have managed more vends in the state for easier supply to towns and villages. Drugs, in different forms and under different brand names, are easily available on the counter of chemist shops.

Samsher Deol, a farmer, said: “Our experience with the NGOs has not been encouraging. Except a couple, a majority are showing no action on the ground.”

Although no official figures are available, more than half a dozen NGOs engaged in curbing the liquor and drug menace in the district feel helpless in goading addicts to return to normal life.

Dr Inderjeet Singh, director of Dr Kotnis Hospital, Salem Tabri, says: “A large number of youths is frustrated owing to personal and professional pressures.Everyone wants to make millions and very fast too. Alcohol and drugs are seen as an easy escape route. No de-addiction centre can work till the problem is handled at the family level.”

“Politicians themselves have a stake in the liquor trade. The administration cannot openly take on the liquor lobby for obvious reasons,” he adds.

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‘Special’ children not-so-special here
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 26
It seems that children with special needs are left to fend for themselves in the city with majority of school managements trying to wash their hands off responsibility.

Though the CBSE has set a different syllabus for them, yet, hardly any school admits the physically and mentally challenged children. Thus, they are left at the mercy of special schools to get education.

Ludhiana Tribune spoke to the principals of a number of schools here, who expressed their “helplessness” in admitting these students. On condition of anonymity, they admitted that such children needed vocational training along with tips for personality development so that they are able to realise their dreams.

“But unfortunately, we do not have specialised staff in the school to cater to these students. Secondly, normal children may find it difficult to cope up with such children. They may face problems and parents can raise objections to this,” said one of the principals of a private school here.

S.C. Saxena, principal, Kundan Vidya Mandir, said they had made a policy, according to which, five per cent weightage (benefit) is given to students with special needs. He said the CBSE had prescribed a set of syllabus for such children and the school regularly sent necessary statistics to them. “Children with special needs learn not only from teachers but from other students as well. Normal children learn to love and show concern towards such students,” feels Saxena.

Meghna Sharma, psychologist, said physically and mentally disabled children face problems of concentration, learning, language and perception of problems. “The schools generally do not encourage admission of special children because it is not easy to handle them. At times, they can be harmful, too. Keeping all this in mind, special schools having specialised staff have been introduced to cater to them,” she said.

Aruna Nayyar (name changed), a parent, said she wanted to send her 10-year-old mentally challenged son to some good school but no school is willing to take him. If the builders of the nation will be indifferent towards such children, how can we expect the society to be good to them?” asked the mother.

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SAD, Cong ready for Chhapar conferences
Tribune News Service

Mounted cops keep vigil at mela in Ludhiana on Wednesday.
Mounted cops keep vigil at mela in Ludhiana on Wednesday. —Tribune photograph

Ludhiana September 26
The stage is set for a political showdown tomorrow at Chhapar with the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and the opposition Congress both trying to mobilise people for their respective conferences.

While Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal will address the SAD conference, the newly appointed president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, will be the main speaker at the Congress conference. It will be Bhattal’s first public meeting after being appointed PCC chief.

Both parties held meetings today as part of preparations for the the final showdown.

The Akali rally was addressed by Jagdish Singh Garcha, former minister, Paramjit Singh Sidhwan, political secretary to Sukhbir Badal, Santa Singh Umedpuri, Mann Singh Garcha and others.

The Congress rally was addressed by Kila Raipur MLA Jassi Khangura, his father Jagpal Singh Khangura, former MLA Milkiat Singh Dakha, district Congress committee president (Ludhiana rural) president Bhalinder Singh and Manjit Hambran.

Addressing the SAD conference, Sidhwan said the SAD-BJP government had chalked out a comprehensive programme for the development of the state. Projects worth over Rs 5,000 crore had been launched during the six months of the government. The government was committed to the welfare of weaker sections and funds amounting to Rs 1,234 crore were being spent on the welfare of weaker sections.

Speakers at the Congress rally alleged that the government had proved to be a failure. Jassi Khangura alleged the Akalis had set a personal agenda at the cost of public interest.

He claimed tomorrow's rally would be "the largest-ever" at Chhapar.

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Banks asked to lend more to poor, agricultural sectors
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 26
Banks in the district were asked to focus on increasing lending to the weaker and agricultural sectors at the review meeting of Annual Credit Plan for the first quarter ending June 2007, held here, today.

The banks fell short of target for both these sectors during this quarter and advanced four per cent of the total to the weaker sections against a target of 10 per cent while in case of agricultural sector, the advances were nine per cent of the total against a target of 18 per cent.

Sukhdev Singh Libra, MP, said banks should focus on giving general credit cards, which are meant for the weaker sections of the society and also Kisan credit cards.

It was revealed that the banks in the district advanced Rs 1,161 crore to agriculture, small scale industries and other priority sectors during this quarter, attaining 109 per cent of the target set for this period.

Vishwa Bandhu, general manager, DIC, presented awards to 118 persons for their performance in disbursing loans under the Prime Minister’s Rozgar Yojna (PMRY).

While deposits increased from Rs 13,062 crore to Rs 13,296 crore in comparison to the corresponding quarter last year, advances recorded a 27 per cent rise at Rs 19,040 crore. The Credit Deposit Ratio (CDR) was 143 per cent, surpassing the national average of 60 per cent.

As many as 33 cases sponsored by PSCLDFC were sanctioned by the banks and 274 self-help groups were linked with credit, it was disclosed. Priyank Bharti, ADC, development, presided over the meeting.

Among others present at the meeting were Jeet Singh, lead district manager, Punjab and Sind Bank, S.R.P. Dudeja, AGM, Reserve Bank of India, Harmesh Kumar from Nabard, Ishar Singh, Punjab National Bank and H.S. Makkar, chief manager, Punjab and Sind Bank. 

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PSEB staff, kin stage dharna
Our Correspondent

Samrala, September 26
The PSEB employees along with their families members held a big rally and staged dharna in vegetable market here today under the presidentship of Bharpoor Singh, president of the technical services union, in which the employees of sub-divisions, Khamanon, Kohara, Samrala, Behlolpur and Machhiwaratook part. The dharna was in protest against the suspension of many leaders of PSEB, including circle president Sickender Singh.

The employees submitted a charter of their demands and memorandum to the local SDM, Sukhdev Singh Mahal.

The leaders threatened the board management to re-instate their leaders and implement the submitted demands. They said otherwise they will be compelled to lock the sub-divisions and will start hunger strike.

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Getting online not so easy
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 26
Getting online in the industrial town is not as quick as shopping online. Your wait for a high speed broadband connection could range from anything between five days to even 20 days. Even as the market is not monopolised, heavy rush for broadband connections is keeping service providers busy.

The companies attribute the phenomenon to growing popularity of online shopping, e-ticketing, e-banking banking and even online studies which has put city residents on a fast track mode where they want to get things at the click of a mouse.

“It would take us at least five days to install your connection,” said a private service provider near Feroze Gandhi Market. For Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), which is more popular due to high speed it offers, the wait could be much longer, more than 15 days too due to heavy rush.

“Due to better speed I wanted to go in for a broadband connection but was quite disappointed as I was told it would take at least 15 days for installation,” said Surbhi Sharma, a BRS Nagar resident.

Apart from shopping, games, video and audio downloads and online trading are quite popular among city residents.

As increasing number of Ludhianavis get online every day, the relatively slow ‘dial up’ connections have taken a backseat. “Internet usage is growing at a fast pace in the city and people want high speed connections which is why there is a waiting period if one wants a broadband connection,” said a BSNL official. As per estimates the city is among the fastest growing markets for Internet services in this region.

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Poor woman needs financial assistance 

Ludhiana, September 26
Babbi (22) needs monetary help for her treatment after she met with an accident in an industrial unit. With two daughters aged two and six years, and her jobless husband,she is the sole bread winner for the family.

She suffered serious injuries on her chest when her “duppatta” got entangled in the machinery she was working on in the industrial unit at Humbran village in this district on August 22. She was referred to Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) here from Pahwa Hospital in Humbran. Though, she is a regular employee, but her employer paid only a paltry sum for meeting her treatment expenses.

According to CMCH doctors, the outstanding bills towards her treatment stand at approximately Rs 1 lakh.

Making an appeal to good Samaritans to come for rescuing the hapless woman, and her family, the hospital authorities said all those interested could contact the office of the medical superintendent at CMCH. All donations are to be made in favour of Christian Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, with the "Treatment for Babbi" written on the reverse of the cheque, demand drafts or on the covering letter. — OC

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Residents owe Rs 70 cr to municipal corporation
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 26
A large number of city residents owe a whopping Rs 70 crore in the form of house tax and sewerage and water supply bills to the municipal corporation. Various public offices also figure on the list of defaulters.

The MC would be issuing warning-cum-notices to those who have not paid house tax and water bills for the past many years, asking them to avail of the opportunity given by the government for depositing their bills without paying an interest by October 20.

Sources in the MC said the defaulters owed Rs 40 crore as house tax and Rs 30 crore as water charges.

Government offices had also not paid around Rs 15 crore. The MC said though the government had waived the interest on these bills a number of times in the past, the defaulters did not feel the need to deposit the bills.

The defaulters include offices of the deputy commissioner, SSP, SP and superintendent, post offices, with dues amounting to Rs 7 lakh, Rs 2 lakh, Rs 20,000 and Rs 70,000, respectively.

The Sadar police station and the crime against women cell have also not paid Rs 15,000 and Rs 22,000, respectively.

The division number 5 police station has not paid Rs 8,000 while Rs 77,000 has not been paid by the executive engineer, water supply and sewerage board.

The Sadar court and the old courts complex also owe the MC Rs 7 lakh and Rs 2 lakh, respectively.

An employee on the condition of anonymity said while the MC would issue notices to residents under Sections 137 and 138 of the MC Act, it would not issue notices to the police departments and several other departments.

‘‘The amount is used for the development of the city. They should pay taxes and pay for the availed services,’’ an MC official said.

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Citizens’ service portal launched
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 26
SAP, a software solutions provider, has come out with an e-governance citizens’ service portal.

The portal is enabled by solutions, consulting and services by a consortium of SAP, Siemens Information Systems Ltd and ABM (domain expert). Designed to be highly responsive and interactive, it would address the needs of citizens, administrators, employees and corporates, said a company press note issued here today.

For users, the portal offers online availability of services like interactive forms, secured payment gateway for online payments, online registration of complaints and status monitoring.

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Rallies to mark Bhagat Singh’s birth centenary
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 26
To express their gratitude toward the sacrifice of martyr Bhagat Singh, a few organisations have planned various functions in the city on his birth centenary on September 28.

Activists of a large number of organisations will gather in the city on Friday morning and move towards Barnala to take part in the rally being organised by  the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Janam Shatabdi Committee, Punjab.

The organisations include the Lok Morcha Punjab, Inqalabi Kender, Punjab, Moulder and Steel Workers Union, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Mazdoor Sangathan, Lok Ekta Sangathan, Democratic Teachers Front, Lok Sangharsh Committee, Jassowal, Punjab Roadways Employees Union, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Vichar Manch, Hosiery Workers Union and Punjab Maha Sabha.

The activists of these organisations will carry banners and posters of Bhagat Singh and his objectives and move toward Barnala in trucks and buses.

The Indian National Bank Employees Congress has demanded a public holiday under the Negotiable Instruments Act the day Bhagat Singh's birth centenary will be celebrated.

Shiv Gupta, an office-bearer, urged the day to be declared as a national holiday.

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Government ‘neglecting’ Chhapar cattle market
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 26
Cattle lovers of area are frustrated over alleged pathetic role of the state government that paid no attention to maintain importance of the Chhapar cattle market, once known as one of the biggest cattle markets, of the North India. Even the local town was then known as Mandi Chhapar. Instead of promoting the trade the state government had left cattle lovers on mercy of private contractors, who failed to provide facilities to them.

Prit Pal Singh, an employee of the contractor, on the other hand maintained that they had been providing all facilities to the cattle and the traders. “Rather we suffered losses due to poor turnover at the mandis in the district,” said Prit Pal calling upon animal lovers to have faith in cattle markets.

Sarup Singh of Pakhowal , who manages his own stable, told Ludhiana Tribune that the site which used to be left for stay, display and demonstration of horses, has since been occupied for other commercial purposes. The dealers and horse lovers now have been shifted to a remote area at the mela site. The new site is not accessible to general public visiting the mela. The department concerned has since long left to attend the exhibition-cum-mandi of horses and there is no arrangement of drinking water or fodder for the animals there. “Though we have to pay Rs 50 per horse as entry fee and 4 percent on all transactions, we have to make our own arrangements for the stay of horses,” anguished Sarup Singh.

Bhag Singh Nadania of Dolan village, who had brought his pure Black horse for display, said around 200 animals, including 60-70 horses, 60 mares and 30-35 colts and fillies had arrived this year for sale. But only few transactions materialised.

The animal lovers demanded that adequate arrangements should be made for the animals which are brought here for display and pay obeisance at Gugga Mari. 

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DC warns officers against taking bribe
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 26
Apprehending possible demands of bribe by officials involved in the paddy procurement, deputy commissioner Sumer Singh Gurjar warned that any act reported would be dealt with firmly. He said any kind of corrupt practises on the part of the procurement staff, of purchase agencies, deployed in the mandis would not be tolerated at any cost.

Gurjar was presiding over a meeting of department concerned for reviewing the progress of the procurement arrangements at the mini secretariat, here yesterday. He asked the officers to keep a “watch” on their staff and said no farmer should be forced to pay any bribe for selling produce.

He asked the officers and SDMs to personally visit the mandis allotted to them for procurement and meet the farmers to sort out the problems on the spot. 

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Sewage overflow
Farmers want MC to compensate losses
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 26
Accusing the local civic body of destroying their crops by alleged overflow of waste water in their fields, a number of farmers of the area have sought compensation worth Rs 15 lakhs for the losses incurred during last years.

The claim applications, received through the SDM, Malerkotla, were presented in a meeting of councillors held at local Town Hall, today.

Accusing the local municipal council of allegedly causing losses to them, Nazar Singh, son of Sawaddi Singh, Hari Singh, son of Bhag Singh, and Rajinder Kaur, daughter of Kaur Singh, have sought compensation worth at least Rs 15 lakh from the civic body.

The records revealed that the complainants owned land surrounding a piece of land that had been hired by the council for disposal of waste water of the town.

The waste water, collected in the fields of the renter, had allegedly overflowed and destroyed the crops standing in fields of the complainants during past years.

The matter of payment of the compensation was discussed in monthly meeting of the council but the final decision was yet to be taken. 

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AIR to make programmes for farmers
Our Correspondent

Samrala, September 26
The All India Radio (AIR) has planned a number of programmes, to be broadcast during the current financial year, for providing more information to the state farmers regarding the latest trends n the field of agriculture and to preserve the rich heritage of the folk music. This was stated by AIR, Jalandhar, station director, D.P. Malik, in the local civil rest house.

Malik, while interacting with mediapersons, said a few new series like “Ek Dharti Veer Jawana Dee” and “Badaaldian Tasveeran” would be aired to celebrate 60 years of Indian Independence. For this, Rs 3 lakh had been sanctioned by the directorate of the All India Radio, he added.

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Polio no handicap for this scholar
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 26
Polio has not made Gurvinder Singh Punani, a 35 year-old scholar, a handicap. Although, he is not able to stand on his legs due to it, still he has managed to live the life better than others.

He has already done masters in commerce and is currently pursuing M.Phil. He has also done postgraduate diploma in statistics. Besides, writing five textbooks on finance and accounting.

Gurvinder is also running a private tutorial for commerce students. His textbooks are much in demand. Yesterday, he came to the Bachat Bhawan with an application for the national award to be forwarded by the deputy commissioner. Although he waited for about two hours he could not get his application forward since the deputy commissioner busy with other engagements.

Gurvinder’s father, who was accompanying him, said, he had always been a brilliant student. He never felt handicapped although he could hardly stand on his legs. Yet, he remained firm in his pursuit and always scored good marks in the exams. Gurvinder said: “My parents imbibed a sense of confidence and independence in me that my potential is no less than anybody else”.

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Letters
Lead instead of being led

We choose leaders for the uplift of our surroundings, for better services and to solve our problems.

However, in most cases, leaders are busy attending functions, visiting relatives and friends with the government machinery in tow.

Bureaucracy is deployed for proper functioning of the political, social, administration and economic systems. Politicians are requested to help bureaucrats in maintaining these.

However, very often they are seen helping law breakers for poor publicity. A sad fact is that citizens vote politicians, but as soon as a candidate wins, the voters are forgotten. This is the reason for change of government in the very next poll.

Recently, it was observed that politicians were opposing one-way traffic in certain areas of the city, owing to pressure from some people. This was not only wrong on the part of the leaders but can also prove harmful.

I request the government and the politicians to fulfil the expectations of citizens rather than falling prey to vested interests of a handful.

Archna, 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.

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SBI gets “AAA” rating
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 26
SBI Life has become the first life insurance company in the country to get highest financial strength rating, 'AAA' from the credit rating agency CRISIL.

The rating denotes financial security and ability of a company to meet its obligations to its customers. It is based on financial strength, stability and overall performance.

U.S. Roy, managing director and chief operating officer, SBI Life, said in a press note issued here today: “The triple A rating reiterates the trust that our customers have in us.

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