L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Police turns to pending complaints
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 18
With the police force preoccupied with the Shingaar cinema blast for the past three days, the cops have now started clearing the backlog by taking up pending complaints and registering FIRs.

Sources said the FIRs were lodged late as the police force was busy in the investigation work, beefing up security, carrying out special raids and checking operations.

The daily crime bulletin of the police reveals the Model Town police has last night booked an unknown motorcycle rider for allegedly snatching a purse from the complainant, Harneet Kaur, near old Krishna Mandir, two days ago, on October 15.

Similarly, the Basti Jodhewal police has also lodged a report reagrding a two days old incident. On October 15 evening, Amit Kumar, a resident of Hira Vihar Colony, and his brother were allegedly beaten up mercilessly by a group of youths near Pappu drinking place. His brother is admitted in the civil hospital with serious head injuries.

None of the identified assailants-Sanjiv Kumar, Baba Bindri along with a few unidentified youths- have been arrested.

Even yesterday, the police has registered a case of theft occurring on October 14 night. Over seven tonnes of iron bars worth Rs 2 lakh were stolen in a major theft at Bhagat Traders, Hambran road, near Golf Link Club.

According to an FIR registered by the Haibowal police last night, the accused came well prepared in a truck, broke the lock and chain and took away 40 ft wide iron bars of 12 mm circumference. The owner, Pawan Kumar, had lodged the complaint that morning. Due to the preoccupation of the police in the aftermath of the Shingaar blast incident, no major investigation has been started so far.

Police sources said the work at the police stations had been hit seriously with the force occupied with investigating the blast incident, preventing future incidents, keeping a tab on anti-social elements and beefing up security at places under threat.

Sources said the visit of the VIPs at the blast site and at the hospitals further put the cops under immense pressure. Most of the force from the police stations was moved out to help in the work load.



25 years after he was sacked, man gets Rs 18,000
Jupinderjit Singh/TNS

Ludhiana, October 18
After struggling 25 years for justice, Harbhajan Singh (57), a resident of Baddowal, has finally got some relief with the New Fatehgarh Sahib Sirhind Bus Service Pvt Ltd paying him a compensation of Rs 18,000 on the orders of a labour court.

The Labour and Conciliatory Officer, Ludhiana, has in a recent order directed attachment of buses belonging to the bus service company, which had not paid Rs 21,154 to the complainant for the last many years. Another company, Patiala Transport Company is, however, yet to pay the compensation.

Harbhajan Singh said he had agreed to take Rs 18,000 after settling accounts with the company officials.

The company, which later trifurcated into other transports companies, had not paid a single penny to Harbhajan Singh for his several months of work before showing him the door in 1980.

Despite various attempts, this poor man was not given his dues, although a labour court had directed the company to do so. The court had even asked the district administration for recovery of his payments. But none tried to get him his dues.

The direction was given by the labour court in February 1998. But nobody cared even after nine years. Later assistant labour commissioner, Patiala, in his letter (dated May 30, 2005) to the SDM, Fatehgarh Sahib, had asked the latter to recover Harbhajan Singh’s dues under the Land Revenue Act, 1887, but to no avail.

Eventually, the court ordered attachment of buses, which worked, and the man got some relief at last.

Before losing his job, he had been working as a booking clerk with Kalgidhar Transport Company which got trifurcated into Patiala Bus Service, Libra Bus Service Private Limited and New Fatehgarh Sahib Sirhind Bus Private Limited many years ago.

He was terminated by his employers and he had moved the labour court. While the Libra Transport Company paid his amount, the rest of the two companies are yet to comply with the orders of the labour court.



Funds: PAU to popularise publications
Shivani Bhakoo/TNS

Ludhiana, October 18
In an effort to help PAU out of the financial crunch, the department of communication journalism and languages has decided to generate its own resources. For this, the VC has already given the nod.

Dr Jagtar Singh Dhiman, additional director, communications, said

"Our is a no profit, no loss department. Keeping this in mind, we plan certain innovations for making PAU publications popular.

“The Progressive Farming and Changi Kheti are two publications that have generated a tremendous response. We are making efforts to make these more attractive ", he said, adding the department planned table-calendars too.

2,000 table calendars of Rs 40-Rs 50 each will be published. Besides 5,000-7,000 wall calendars, which are popular among the faculty and farmers will be published. This would help generate good income for the department. “New Year greeting cards will also generate a good response,” said Dr Dhiman.

Kulwant Singh Batta, computer designer and Gurbhajan Gill, editor, Changi Kheti, said efforts were being made to place the Communication Centre on a new track.

Gurbhajan Gill said the PAU had helped change the face of farmers, farming and rural Punjab. All this had been possible because of on-time dissemination of farm information on seeds of high-yielding varieties of crops and hybrid and production protection technologies.

“We are not going to burden the authorities for bringing about change. Our endeavour is to bring about a quantitative change and improve the quality of life of farming families, who feed the nation,” added Dr Dhiman.



Govt dragging feet on Budda Nullah: IHRO
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 18
The International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO) has blamed the government for going slow in cleaning Budda Nullah allegedly owing to the pressure of the industrial lobby.

Budda Nullah, loaded with pollutants, is a tough challenge for the state and the district administration despite specific orders by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on its own motion and on the petition of IHRO for cleansing the nullah and treatment of solid waste and industrial pollutants, a press note of the organisation said here today. It seems that the local industrial lobby and other vested interests have prevailed upon Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who in turn seems to have asked the administration to go slow in this regard, said D S Gill, chairperson of IHRO, in the statement.



Bhojpuri film CDs sell like hot cakes
Sales up by 50 per cent
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 18
Sale of original as well as pirated CDs of Bhojpuri movies is facing an unprecedented high after the Shingaar cinema blast as migrant labourers prefer to sit home to watch their Bhojpuri movie stars.

The pirated Bhojpuri CDs, which cost around Rs 20 each, is selling like hot cakes in Gyaspura and nearby areas.

Labourers with VCD players are a hot property these days. Shiv Ram, a migrant labourer from Uttar Pradesh, said: "Earlier, I used to watch every Bhojpuri film first day, first show, even as I had a huge collection of Bhojpuri film songs.

“But after the blast, I am too scared to visit the theatres so I have brought a couple Bhojpuri CDs."

Hari Ram, who works in a cloth shop said: " My wife called me up from Uttar Pradesh and asked me not to watch a movie in a theatre. I am a movie buff, so I have brought a CD player on rent. I have also purchased five pirated CDs of Bhojpuri movies."

"At least in your home,. there will be no blast . I am a fan of Ravi Krishan and Manoj Tiwari and watch their movies regularly. So I have purchased CDs that I will watch every Sunday,"said Bablu Kumar .

A shopkeeper, pleading anonymity said: "There is an unprecedented rise in the sale of CDs. As the migrants cannot afford expensive original CDs, they prefer pirated CDs which are affordable. Our sales have gone up by 50 per cent."



Cops lack data on suspects
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 18
Investigators of the Shingaar cinema blast are regretting the discontinuation of the migrant and tenant registration drive that was started in the state a year ago allegedly owing to pressure of a group of ministers from Bihar. The police is seeking a state government order now to make it mandatory to register everyone visiting Punjab.

Due to the suspension of the drive and irregular maintenance of stranger rolls by the police stations, the investigators have no data to follow the suspects. It has no relevant record of migrants and outsiders arriving in the city.

The police is not suspecting the involvement of any migrant labourer in the attack. It was regretting that criminals and terrorists who came here posing as labourers, workers went unchecked. The police is advocating the exercise as a deterrent for criminals and terrorists.

It is a matter of record that many criminals and terrorists had taken refuge in Ludhiana especially after coming here in the garb of workers. The police had started the registration drive particularly after a couple of ISI agents and a Lashkar-e-Toiba militant, accused in the Prabhjit kidnapping case, were caught from the city recently.

A couple of them lived in the garb of beggars in the city. Prominent among them was a Major-rank officer of the Pakistan army, caught in the 1990s from here.

“There is no check on the movement of strangers. Policemen cannot keep an eye on all. The government must order the migrant and tenant registration and verification immediately to prevent such instances in future,” said a senior Punjab police official. He said such a system should be in place for the entire country.

With only 4,000-odd cops to keep an eye on over 33 lakh population besides lakhs of floating migrants, it is well-nigh impossible for the cops to keep an eye on all strangers. Under the Punjab police rules, stranger rolls are supposed to be maintained by the police. With such large number of population to contend with, the exercise cannot be followed.

This shortcoming had come to light when Jagtar Singh Hawara, who along with others is in jail for the murder of former Chief Minister Beant Singh, was caught last year months after he had escaped from the Burail jail. He was living in and around Samrala with none of the cops listing him in the stranger rolls.

Early in 2006, the police had through an order, promulgated by the district magistrate, told all migrants to register themselves with the police. They were issued identity cards also.

Migrant labourers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh opposed it tooth and nail. While the controversy was on, a clash took place between locals and migrants in Sunder Nagar over the issue of blocking a road by the latter. It was blown out of proportion by political leaders. Within a day, a delegation of ministers from Bihar dashed to Ludhiana seeking a ban on the registration drive.

Police officials said ironically it was the migrant labourers only who had been the worst hit now in the Shingaar cinema terror attack.

The police had managed to get some good results from the data collected before the suspension of the drive. Thirty-three were found to have a criminal background.



Installation of martyr’s statue
Parja Mandal awaits govt nod
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 18
Successors of Parja Mandal leader and patriotic Akali Bhagat Singh Dhadogal are waiting for the government's nod for installing a martyr’s statue by replacing an old one already erected at the Bagrian Chowk, Dhuri, during the previous SAD regime.

Though they want that the Chief Minister should unveile the statue but the factionalism within the party has shattered their hopes of seeing their dream come true. The statue, carved by Iqbal Singh Gill is lying at Gurdwara Mehtiaana near and has become a centre of attraction for enthusiasts.

Sukhwinder Singh, martyr’s grandson, said the previous SAD regime had sanctioned Rs 1 lakh for erecting a memoir of Bhagat Singh Dhadogal at a suitable place near his native village. Though the statue carved in marble was installed at the Bagrian Chowk at Dhuri the enthusiasts started feeling that its size was too small.

"On persistent demand of residents of the area we decided to replace the smaller statue with a full size one. But now when we have got it prepared from Iqbal Singh we have been asked to take prior permission of the civil authorities before initiating process for replacing it," rued Sukhwinder Singh.

Born in a middle class agrarian family of Dhadogal village in 1893, Bhagat Singh had joined Parja Mandal under leadership of Sewa Singh Thikrwala. The seed of patriotism germinated when he was in the British Army. After serving in the Army for about five years he turned revolutionary and was sentenced for 10 years for wearing black turban during Nankana Sahib episode. However, he was released from Patiala Jail after three years when Akalis reached a compromise with the government.

It was on the advice of Baba Kharak Singh that the activists of Parja Mandal had joined Akalis.

Residents of the area remember his sacrifice by celebrating his martyrdom from 24 to 26 Sawan (in month of August).



Sukhbir gets CM’s reception

Ludhiana, October 18
It may take time for working president of the Shiromani Akali Dal Sukhbir Badal to officially occupy the seat of Chief Minister, but for the local administration he seems no less than that. And for hundreds of party workers, he is much more.This was evident today during his visit to the city.

Most senior officials queued up to receive the heir apparent.The route along which Sukhbir Badal was to travel was sensitised. Security arrangements were as good as that for a Chief Minister.

Hundreds of workers gathered at the Circuit House to receive him. A convoy of cars escorted him from the Sahnewal airport to the Circuit House. And Sukhbir himself remarked in jest that it was “up to God” to decide when he would be the Chief Minister.

He reiterated his commitment to put Ludhiana on the path of development with projects worth thousands of crores planned for the city. — TNS



SAD to boycott Ghuman
Our Correspondent

Khamano, October 18
The local SAD unit and Kheri Naudh Singh met at Gurdwara Sahib, Khamano Mele Wali and decided to boycott local youth Akali Dal leader Gurdeep Singh Ghuman for behaving rudely with a senior leader and a few others.

Akali leader Gurmeet Singh chaired the meeting. The speakers alleged that Ghuman had abused Gurdev Singh Jatana for transferring an employee. He was even accused of misusing the name of SGPC member Jathedar Kirpal Singh Khirnian and Samrala MLA Jagjivan Singh Khirnian.

They also condemned him for threatening a family member of a Kargil martyr.

The meeting was addressed by Prem Singh Maneli, Sukhdev Singh, Sarwan Singh Sohavi, Nirmal Singh, jathedar Gian Chand and jathedar Harnek Singh Barwali.




Food items

The festival season is on and during these days, sale of sweets, bakery products and other eatables increases manifold. The enforcement machinery of the food and health department being what it is, halwais and bakery owners try to take advantage of the situation by passing off adulterated and poor quality stuff to people.

It is no secret that synthetic ‘khoya’ and paneer is brought from neighbouring states in large quantities for making sweets by leading sweet shops. Non-food grade colours and flavours are used in making sweets and bakery items. Cheap replacements and look-alikes of dry fruit are also used for garnishing sweets besides artificial sweeteners. The enforcement staff of the health department will do well to keep a strict vigil on the manufacturing and sale of sweets and bakery products in the city, particularly during the ongoing festival season.


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.



3 booked for assault
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, October 18
Mohinder Singh, Nahar Singh and Jeon Singh of Rasulpur allegedly intercepted Bhajan Singh and Balwinder Singh, alias Pappi, of their village and assaulted them with sharp-edged weapons at Kaunke Kosha village.

The local police has registered a case under various sections of the IPC.

The injured Balwinder Singh has been admitted to Satluj Hospital, Ludhiana. Some old quarrel is said to be the cause behind the incident. No arrest has been made so far.



Miscreants vandalise petrol station
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, October 18
Four persons allegedly smashed the glass panes of a petrol station during midnight on Tuesday. It is learnt that they came to Amrit Shanti Filling Station, near the local Subhash Gate, on two bullet motorcycles at about 11:45 pm yesterday. They knocked at the door of a room where Purshotam Mishra and Hat Ram, employees at the petrol station, were sleeping.

As the petrol station is closed at night, the employees refused to supply petrol. All the four left and returned after half an hour. When refused again, they picked up bricks and stones from nearby and smashed the glass panes of the building of the petrol station.

When the employees of the petrol station resisted them, they threatened to kill them. Later they fled on their motorcycles. The loss is estimated at Rs 50,000. The filling station is at a distance of just 100 yards from the local Sadar police station Jagraon. The police has started investigations.



Pollution board’s notice ruffles electroplating units
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 18
Ruffled by notifications from the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) nearly 300 electroplating units in the city are trying to get relaxations on various issues, including the direction to ensure zero discharge of hazardous water by these units and enforcement and installation of on-line monitoring system.

The units have urged the P.Ram Committee not to plug sewerage as they are "not in a position to lift non-toxic effluent'" to the CETP.

The PPCB, in its letters to electroplating units, has stated that there should be zero discharge by these units. The board has also directed units to install an on-line monitoring system in a time bound manner.

"The decision is unilateral and anti-industry. It was agreed upon that the common effluent treatment plant (CETP) will treat toxic effluent. The acid and alkaline water, not treated by the CETP, is neutralised,non-toxic and not as harmful. Besides, by the time we reach the deadline given by the High Court, which is August 2008, there will be STPs to treat this water as well. It is illogical to ask industry to making investment towards treating acid-alkaline water too at this stage," said Joginder Kumar of the Ludhiana Effluent Treatment Society for Electroplating Industries.

Seeking permission to discharge this acid and alkaline water in sewerage, industrialists said this water would be ultimately treated at the STPs installed by the government.

Electroplating units are also irked at the direction to put into place a system that facilitates on-line monitoring by the pollution control board. "They want an on-line monitoring system not only at the CETP but also at individual level by units. This is practically not possible."

Kumar said 275 units had become members of the CETP so far. Unit owners said the PPCB was also asking the contractor who was running the CETP to add extra equipment which would entail additional investment. Terming the PPCB's action as unfair, industrialists said:"Additional investment will mean extra charge on industry as it was not specified in the initial phase of agreement with contractor. It is not viable for each industrial unit to contribute additionally and government should give a grant if any additions are required."

The effluent society met P. Ram and also M.P. Singh, principal secretary, Science and Technology, regarding the issue.



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