L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Major exercise to pre-empt attacks
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 17
The city police has started a major exercise to pre-empt terror attacks by conducting special search operations at crowded places, including bus stand and railway station. It held meetings with market associations on the matter today.

The police will hold meetings with management committees of schools tomorrow to apprise them of security measures. The police today searched trains, buses and frisked people. A dog squad was pressed into service and metal detectors were installed at crowded places.

The police has deputed DSPs to supervise work at vital installations. One DSP, with help from the GRP, would keep a vigil on the railway station.

Another DSP would maintain a vigil on the bus stand while another official would monitor security at the vegetable market. Officials have also been deputed for religious places and cinema halls.

“It is a mammoth task. There are over 400 religious places in the city. Then there are markets, over 25 cinema halls, and several other soft targets for the terrorists. The police needs cooperation of the public,” said the SSP.



Post-blast: Turnout at Ramlilas hit
Mohit Khanna/Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 17
Attendance at Ramlilas in the city has gone thinner with terrified migrants keeping away after the Shingaar blast.

There is a low turnout at cinema halls and ongoing Ramlila and Dasehra melas are also seeing a thin attendance. The festivities have been hit in a big way.

The number of visitors to these melas has gone down by 40 per cent. Ramlila committees apprehend substantial losses due to the low turnout across the city.

Shri Ramlila committee, Daresi, which has held Dasehra melas for over 100 years, says after the Shingaar tragedy, the number of viewers has decreased drastically.

Krishan Lal Bajaj, president, Ramlila Committee, said: "Earlier Daresi Ground used to be jam-packed, but after the blast, people are hesitant to visit the ground."

"Let us hope this weekend will witness a better turnout, "said a rather optimistic Bajaj.

Harrilal, a migrant labourer from Uttar Pradesh, said: "I am scared to take my family at Ramlila ground after the blast .”



Bhattal visit impedes medicare
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana October 17
It was virtually a free for all in Ward Number 4 of Christian Medical College here where those injured in the Sunday bomb blast are admitted.

When the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president and the Congress Legislative Party leader, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, entered the ward along with a battery of senior party leaders and ministers, the party workers also trouped in, leaving hardly any space in the ward, practically leaving everybody, particularly the patients, gasping for breath.

The security staff and the hospital management, including the doctors, had little control over the situation. For obvious reasons, the party workers were following their leader and wanted to be seen by her and with her. For about 15 minutes, during which time she stayed there, the patients literally fought for breath.

The workers had already started camping inside the ward about half an hour ahead of Bhattal's arrival. Interestingly none of the workers bothered to inquire about the condition of any of the victims. They were waiting to be seen and photographed with their leader. Once Bhattal left, the ward again wore a deserted look.

She went to all the injured and talked to everybody admitted there. She also wanted the government to enhance the compensation to those killed to Rs 10 lakh and for those injured, to Rs 5 lakh. She said the government must bear the cost of the treatment of all the injured.

Prominent among those accompanying her included former PCC president Shamsher Singh Dullo, former minister Partap Bajwa, Harnam Dass Johar, Gurchet Bhullar, legislators and former legislators, including Isher Singh Meharban, Harmohinder Singh Pradhan, Rakesh Pandey, Milkiat Singh Dakha, the DCC president Jagmohan Sharma, Parminder Mehta and others. 



Blast victim or burns patient?
BJP leaders, CMC disagree
Kanchan Vasdev/TNS

Ludhiana, October 17
A traumatised burns patient has become a bone of contention between the city's BJP leaders and the administration of CMC Hospital with the former claiming that the patient was a blast victim and needed better medicare while the latter stated that he was a burns victim and had severe infection in the leg.

Senior deputy mayor Parvin Bansal had come across this patient in the Civil hospital yesterday and felt that Ganesh, the patient, needed to be shifted to CMC as the Civil Hospital did not have a burns unit.

The CMC refused to admit him stating that he was not related to the blast and could spread infection to other victims in the hospital. They expressed their helplessness saying they were already grappling with the heavy rush of blast victims and had no bed left.

Bansal spoke to the deputy commissioner and the Civil Hospital administration. The patient was finally shifted to CMC where the administration allegedly refused to take him. Residents of the area, falling in the ward of Bansal, staged a dharna outside the CMC from 12 midnight till 3 am.

The CMC medical superintendent, Dr John Pramod, yesterday levelled allegations against Bansal for spoiling the environment of CMC and hampering work at emergency.

He alleged that the activists did not allow a 32-year-old patient from Jammu to get emergency medicare and he could not survive.

Bansal claimed that he had gone to pacify the agitators instead as they got quite angry that the CMC was refusing admission to a patient who needed care.

The senior deputy mayor said the Civil Hospital had received Ganesh along with bomb blast victims. He looked mentally upset.



Mutilated body benumbs kin
Kanchan Vasdev/TNS

Ludhiana, October 17
Hope of finding him turned into misery for the family of Sham Lal, sixth victim of Shingaar bomb blast, who remained unidentified as they could not imagine in their wildest dreams that he was blown off by the blast.

He lay dead in the mortuary of Civil Hospital for three nights and two days and his family kept on looking for him in the entire city.

Sham, a 32-year-old rickshawpuller, could be identified by some persons today after they saw his picture carried by several newspapers. The police, in a last-ditch effort to get him identified, had released his pictures yesterday. They were planning to cremate him themselves if his body was not claimed by anybody.

On the other hand, his wife and three little children were on the lookout for him for the last two days as he had not returned home on Sunday evening.

‘‘He left home on Sunday morning. He was to return by 11 pm on that day but he did not. I kept awake throughout the night, thinking he would come back. But it was futile. I did not imagine he would be killed in this way,’’ said his wife, crying bitterly.

‘‘For the world, the bomb blast took place on Sunday but for me a bomb was dropped while I was in the mortuary. I saw him among the dead with injuries on his face and blood smeared on his teeth. This was the ghastliest sight of my life,’’ she added. While his three small children lost their father, who did not know that a tragedy had struck them, his family lost the only bread winner who would fend for them.

His wife did not even have the money to cremate him. Finally some good samaritans pooled in resources and arranged for his last rites. 



Vigilance seizes MC project records
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 17
Several controversial projects of the Ludhiana municipal corporation have come under the scanner of Chief Vigilance Commissioner, Local Bodies, with the latter's team confiscating the record pertaining to these projects.

Topping the list are a number of roads that were recently recarpeted but developed potholes soon after. There had been complaints that many roads including Prince Hostel Road, Cancer hospital road, Khalsa College Road and some roads in Focal point were damaged a few days after these were laid afresh. Allegations of using inferior quality material had surfaced.

Development of a colony at Bahadurke Road and acquiring the land of a drain had also come under the scanner. The passing of bills worth lakhs for the Gill chowk flyover even before the work could start at the site had also raised many eyebrows.



No-trust move against civic body chief
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 17
Cutting across party lines, councillors owing allegiance to the SAD-BJP alliance and the Congress have initiated a move to pass no-confidence motion against president of the local civic body Jatinder Kumar Bhola, who has already applied for a long leave.

The present incumbent was earlier elected after dethroning Rajnish Sharma Guddu, a former OSD to Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, former Chief Minister, Punjab,about two years ago. Both chiefs, owing alliance to the Congress, had been elected unanimously.

Ten out of 15 councillors, including Rajnish Sharma Guddu, Santosh Rani of the Congress, Ashoo Tosh Vinayak, former Yuva Morcha president, and Jaswinder Singh Sodhi, a SAD councillor, handed over a written requisition to the executive officer at local office on Monday.

Accusing the president of ignoring their demands and suggestions regarding the town’s development, the councillors urged that a debate should be held on the no-confidence motion proposed by them.

Terming the move of the councillors as politically motivated, Jatinder Bhola on the other hand claimed that a few signatories had assured to support him. “As a few councillors had been pressuring me to oblige them at the cost of public funds I, feeling unwell, applied for a long leave.



Property of two defaulters attached
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 17
UCO Bank whose regional office is at Chandigarh took physical possession of the property at Bajra village here today.

Bank officials said today that Kehar Singh, a resident of Model Colony on the Rahon Road and Davinder Kaur of Bajra village, had availed housing loans from the bank but defaulted in repayment. The parties, who were served notice of 60 day, owed Rs 5.31 lakh and Rs 8.04 lakh, respectively, to the bank. As the parties failed to come forward despite the notices being served, the bank took possession of their property. 



Saying it with flowers!
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana October 17
On every happy occasion or celebration time, Ludhianvis say it with flowers. Seeing their growing craze for flowers, even the floriculture and landscaping department of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has been making every effort to introduce the latest in flowers, suitable for pot-culture, cut-flowers and beds. The department has come up with a hybrid of chrysanthemum, which they will showcase to the general public during the flower show in December.

Giving details about the latest six varieties of chrysanthemum, Dr Ramesh Kumar, head, department of floriculture and landscaping, said the varieties were Anmol, Royal Purple, Yellow Delight, Garden Beauty, Winter Queen and Autumn Joy. He said in recent years, the university had got a tremendous response from the general public during the annual flower show. The Anmol variety, having bright yellow anemone type of small-sized flowers was suitable for growing in pots. It belonged to the late-maturity group and bloomed in December.

Garden Beauty was a tall growing variety with attractive large-sized maroon spoon type of flowers, which made it suitable for garden display. It belonged to the medium-maturity group that bloomed in the month of November and December. "Autumn Joy, an early flowering, with pink decorative flowers, was suitable for cultivation for garden decoration. It was tall growing variety with long duration of flowering", said Dr Sharma.

Dr Ashok Kumar Batish of floriculture department said Bhai Veer Singh Flower show in the month of December had become a craze for local visitors. "We put flowers on sale, too. People appreciate and compare it with Rose Festival, Chandigarh. We have approximately 17 acres of land, where we grow gladiola, rose, lily, chrysanthemum, etc. Each variety of the newly introduced chrysanthemum requires 80-150 days to flowering. These flowers are suitable for garden decoration. Each variety produces hundreds of flowers per plant", he added. 



Tech-festival, fete inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Mandigobindgarh, October 17
The CSE department of the RIMT-Institute of Engineering and Technology came up with “IntellQasis’07”, a sequel of last year’s “IntellOasis’06”. It is a two-day techfest-cum-fete which marked its beginning today as Hukam Chand Bansal, chairman, RIMT Group of Institutes, inaugurated the newly constructed computer lab of about 100 computers.

The techfest saw a gathering of around 1200 students out of which around 600 students participated in various events such as programming, debugging, web-designing, flash animation, project presentation, quiz, group discussion, extempore, debate, IQ test and gaming.

The principal of RIMT-IET, Dr Pritpal, vice-principal, Prof Harish Sadawarti and head of CSE department, Sushil Garg, were also present on the occasion to motivate the students.

More than 4000 students are expected to join tomorrow. The participants are from all the colleges of RIMT Group of Institutes. IntellOasis helped the students bring out their talents. The enthusiasm shown by the students and staff was tremendous and RIMT had a grand celebration.



Brahmin sabha condemns arrest

Samrala, October 17
Behari Lal Saddi, secretary, Shri Brahmin Sabha, Panjab, has strongly condemned the arbitrary action of the Khanna police in arresting Darshan Dass yesterday without producing any arrest warrants against him. 

Baba Darshan Dass is the Mohtmim of Dera, Samadh Baba Bhai Dalhari, situated at Otalan village, two km from here. Saddi alleged that the action of the police has hurt the religious feelings of the Hindus of the area. — OC



Traffic Lights

On most of the traffic lights in the city, the yellow light does not function. There is either green or red light on display. The other day I was driving and entered the chowk on Pakhowal road when the traffic light was green. Half way through the signal, the lights turned red and I was signalled to stop by the police. He questioned me as to why did I cross the chowk when the lights were red.

I vainly pleaded to them that traffic lights were green when I entered the chowk area and lights turned red only when I had almost crossed the chowk. Had there been yellow lights, the cops would not have any justification in stopping me or any other road user.

Though I was not challaned. It seems the yellow lights have been deliberately made non-functional to harass the unsuspecting road users. SP (traffic) is requested to take corrective steps.

Jaswinder Singh Ludhiana

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Girl’s body abandoned, mother held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 17
The Haibowal police has arrested Raj Rani on the charges of dumping the body of her two-month-old daughter near the Budda Nallah. The baby died under mysterious circumstances yesterday evening.

Residents of the area identified the body as that of Arti, alias Guriya. The police arrested and booked her mother for dumping the girl’s body.

According to the police, the woman, a migrant labourer, was living with paramour after her husband’s death. The girl could have died due to hunger, it added. 



Flour mill owner gets 6-month jail
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 17
Chief Judicial Magistrate Rajinder Aggarwal has convicted a flour mill owner on the charges of selling adulterated wheat to people. Devidner Singh Chawla of Chawla Flour and Oil Mill, Pakowal Road, was ordered to undergo six months imprisonment.

Pronouncing the verdict, the judge held that the prosecution had successfully proved the charges levelled against the accused beyond any reasonable shadow of doubt. The judge also directed the accused to pay Rs 1,000 as a fine.

Food Inspector Manoj Khosla had taken the sample from his flour mill on May 6, 1999. Thereafter, one of the samples was sent to a Punjab analyst at Chandigarh. It was found in the report that the wheat was unfit for human consumption as was infested with worm.

Thereafter, the inspector lodged a criminal complaint against the accused under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act. However, the accused pleaded innocence during the trial.

But convinced with the arguments advanced by Additional Public Prosecutor Sukhchain Singh and the evidence produced by the prosecution, the court found the accused guilty and sentenced him accordingly. 



Realign corporate strategy: Expert
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 17
Currency markets were not a major parameter of corporate strategy a couple of years ago due to a relatively stable currency regime. However, deft handling of foreign exchange component has become critical, said Shilpa Kumar,head,global markets group, ICICI Bank, while addressing a meet on “Corporate Strategy Amidst Changing Economic Dynamics and Currency Markets” organised by the Ludhiana Management Association (LMA) here yesterday evening.

Explaining various business risks, including economic, commodity, political and foreign exchange that an organisation is exposed to, Kumar said their importance would change from time to time.

Volatility index for Indian currency almost doubled since 2001, which has had serious implications on Indian business organisations.

A large number of organisations stand exposed to foreign exchange risks due to a growing component of their turnover coming from the overseas markets.Business organisations are realigning their production, sourcing and product strategies to factor in the movements in the global currency markets, she added.

The factors impinging upon the appreciation of rupee and said allayed fears that a major crash would occur due to large inflows, she added.

Ravi Kumar, an economist with the bank, spoke about Indian economic scenario and the global economic movements.

Explaining the shift in the structure of economy in the past 10 years, he said the rapid growth had taken place in service and industrial sectors.

Among others present on the occasion were V.K. Goyal, senior vice-president and Anil Kumar, president, LMA.



Navratri bonanza

Ludhiana, October 17
Navratra celebrations were held at Stan Autos, the largest selling Maruti dealer in the city today. The dhamaka prizes were also presented to customers on the purchase of all types of the models.

According to MDs of the Stan Autos, Naresh Malhotra and Anil Malhotra, navratrai always witness a huge rush of customers right from the first day. Two colour televisions, two refrigerators besides other things were distributed among customers. — TNS



Notice to hike security deposit ruffles industry
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 17
Apex Chamber of Commerce said today that the notification by the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) to enhance the electricity security would unnecessarily burden the industry.

"The Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) has provided for enhancement of the electricity security. It will be an amount equivalent to consumption charges for three months where bimonthly billing is applicable and two months in case of monthly billing.Consumption charges will be worked out on the basis of average monthly consumption of an existing consumer over a period of 12 months.This order would be implemented from January 2008 by the PSEB. With this new provision all industrial consumers in particular will be in great trouble as the amount involved is very huge," said P.D. Sharma, president, Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry,today.

The chamber has now written to the board to find a solution so that consumers are not put to trouble.

Recommending other solutions, Sharma added that the board could consider bank guarantee instead of security amount. Alternatively,it may consider splitting the amount into easy installments.



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