L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Pay Rs 100 to encroach upon MC land
Tehbazari wing charging special festive fee
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 22
In what would tantamount to legalizing roadside encroachments by kiosks, for the festive season at least, the tehbazari wing of local municipal corporation is charging a special festive fee of Rs 100 from a large number of vendors.

After failing to discourage roadside encroachments, the tehbazari wing is towing their line instead and asking them to stay put but pay Rs 100 each during the festive season.

In what has come as a shock for residents, encroachers are being forced to pay the money or face action. The team is also issuing a receipt to these encroachers bearing a stamp stating ‘‘especially for the festive season’’ thereby legalizing their illegal action.

According to kiosk vendors, this has never been done in the past. It is for the first time that the tehbazaari wing was approaching and asking them to pay the money and take a receipt.

‘‘We are doing it happily. A large number of people extort money from us throughout the year and still we face action at times. Our carts are confiscated and goods thrown away. But with the receipt we would get this immunity. Now, we are here to stay, ’’ said Varinder a pan shop seller in Bhadaur house market.

Another vendor said they did not know what was being done. ‘‘We are small time sellers.

We hardly make Rs 50 everyday and when these people come and demand this money that means our children have to sleep empty stomach that day. Otherwise they threaten to throw us and kick us, ’’ said Seeta, another vendor.

The city faces a lot of traffic problem during festivals as a large number of kiosks and rehris selling knick-knacks come up on either side of busy roads. But the corporation has decided to earn money

Joint commissioner M.S. Kainth, while talking to Ludhiana Tribune said he was not in the know how of what was happening. He said he would enquire into it. Still, he added, there might be a possibility that the department had decided to add rupees to corporation’s coffers.

‘‘We all know these encroachers are very stubborn. They come back as soon as we remove them. And nobody wants to take stringent action against them during festivals. It is better that we make money from them instead of running after them with a stick that remains a futile exercise,’’ Kainth said.

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Abandoned suitcase causes scare
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 22
A week after the bomb blast in Shinngar cinema that shook the city, an abandoned suitcase caused a bomb scare in Bhadaur House market today morning.

The suitcase, that was later found to be containing clothes, was spotted by shopkeepers at 11 a.m., who immediately reported the matter to police.

They immediately parked their cars and two wheelers at a safe place and nobody dared venture near the suitcase.

Panic gripped the entire market as a large number of people gathered around the suitcase while waiting for the police.

A team from the Kotwali police station rushed to the spot. Even the cops maintained a safe distance from the suitcase. The anti-bomb squad of the city that was posted at the local railway station also rushed to the spot with detonators.

A PCR constable risked his life a few seconds before the bomb squad reached the spot and opened the suitcase. People were holding their breath till it was opened. To their amusement as well as relief of all those present, the suitcase contained clothes. Someone had probably forgotten it in the parking lot.

The “dare devil” cop earned bouquets as well as brickbats from the people. A few said he did not care about his life while others said he risked the life of others by opening the suitcase.

Later in the day, the police identified the person, whom the suitcase belonged to, as his cash receipt book was found from the suitcase. The police said it was forgotten by a garment trader, who had come for some work in the market. 

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Scarred for life, they have no will to live
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 22
Two youths left incapacitated by the Shingaar bomb blast wonder how they will live on Rs 50,000 compensation given to them by the government.

Imtiaz, a 25-year-old worker in a hosiery, used to iron clothes. In the Shingar blast, his right arm was burnt and had to be mutilated. Now, he is without any livlihood.

Twenty-year-old Pawan Kumar lost his left leg with which he operated a sewing machine while working in a hosiery.

These victims have been scarred for life. ‘‘ The government has played a cruel joke on the victims. The relief amount is meagre. Each time Intiaz looks at his shoulder with no arm, he begins to shiver. We are trying everything to keep hope alive in him. But he is disappointed and has lost the will to live, ’’ says Mohammad Ishrafil, brother -in-law of Intiaz.

Pawan Kumar has a vacant look in his eyes. Still in hospital, he wishes he had died. ‘‘Without a leg, I am useless. I’ve got three unmarried sisters. I do not want to be dependent on anybody. But the compansation is not enough, ’’ he says, crying bitterly as blood oozes out of his bandaged leg.

Mehraj,(14) has multiple fractures in both legs and is bed-ridden for at least six months. ‘‘Doctors say whether he will be able to walk or not will be known after the bandages are opened,’’ said a worried Abid Hussain, his maternal uncle.

Kitabuddin, another teenager, has had his left foot injured badly. His muscles in the lower leg are damaged. The government had yesterday handed over cheques for Rs 2 lakh to families of the deceased and Rs 50, 000 to those injured seriously.

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Inferior paddy procured to appease bosses
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Khanna, October 22
Pressured by their political bosses, whose major concern remains lifting of paddy at any cost, the state procurement agencies are left with no other choice but to please them by purchasing paddy that dose not even meet the prescribed specification.

The irregularity was spotted by quality inspectors of the state procurement agencies, who on the condition of anonymity, said lifting of paddy with high moisture content was going on unabated.

Reason: The state government is very particular about lifting of farmer’s produce without any hiccups, so that their vote bank is not affected.

However, it is the procurement agencies and rice millers who have to feel the heat of deliberate violation of procurement process.

Under the prescribed specifications, the upper limit of moisture content in paddy should not be more than 17 per cent.

However, paddy with over 24 per cent moisture content was being bought by state agencies.

The association of quality inspectors had also taken up the matter with officials concerned, but in spite of assurances, they were still being asked to procure more paddy. Rice millers also rued that at times they were being forced to sign for paddy that had high moisture content.

One such rice miller said government agencies asked them to give a receipt in which they were required to acknowledge that the paddy allotted to them was of prescribed specifications, which was not the case.

He said some officials of the agencies even assured them of not worrying about the rejection of rice by the FCI, as the issue would be taken care of.

A senior official of a government procurement agency maintained that due care was being taken to ensure that high quality paddy was bought.

He, however, admitted that at times high moisture content was found in paddy procured by the agency. He said it could be due to weather conditions.

Rice millers, on the other hand, stated that they often found themselves in a tight spot, as procurement agencies allotted them paddy with high moisture content, while the FCI rejected their produce on same grounds.

The millers said if the rice shelled by them was rejected by the FCI, the losses were to be borne by them. They expressed their inability in refusing to accept low-grade paddy being allotted by the agencies, saying that the officials used pressure tactics and in order to sustain their business they had to make compromises on various occasions.

Market sources said the state government wanted that the procurement process should go on unhindered.

They said in case a farmer’s produce was rejected by some government agency, the cultivator made a huge issue out of it.

They said in order to avoid any unpleasant incident that could call upon the wrath of political leaders, the agencies were not following the specification in some cases.

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King of hearts
Aman Minhas

Exuberant cricketer, born athlete, effervescent human with an infectious charm and a dotting father. That’s Ajay Jadeja, who at 36 can set just about any heart aflutter with his trademark smile.

Off the field for quite some time now, how does he feel when he cheers for the team that he was once an integral part of? “Nothing can match the thrill of playing but after watching the recent match with my son here, I realised how much fun it is to cheer and be on the other side of the stadium.”

Happy where he is at this point in life, Ajay is grateful to God for all the good things that have happened to him. Composed now, he feels that experiences in life have done that to him and prays for better days to follow.

Speaking about cricket, Twenty20 interests him and he feels that new form is here to stay as it makes more sense in our busy lives. The much talked about selection process could not have been left out with the high profile Ajay amidst us. He laughs it off saying, “The selection system in India is like all other things. We learn to accept it the way it is but a Sachin or Dravid can never be ignored and he will feature on the team.”

About his involvement with Nick channel, Ajay is diversifying and we can’t help but ask if he is going the Sidhu way and he answers, “He is a great entertainer and I could not imagine a couple of years back that he would be where he is today. I’m diversifying and doing what I enjoy.”

So are we likely to see him dancing around trees and killing bad men again? Pat comes the reply, “No. I’ve made a mistake once, but not again.”

Ajay loves to spend time with his son and that reflects when he talks fondly about five-year-old Aiman. He is happy that he doesn’t have to play long schedules and gets to spend time at home to watch his son do his antics.

So will a cricketer’s son be a cricketer? “He is inclined towards cricket more than children his age and the interest has increased in the past two-three months, but I want him to be an individual with his own mind and become what he wants to be.”

From hating kids to loving them, Ajay has come a long way. He dotes on his son. But ask him if he is the favourite of his son, Ajay has a different story to tell — “Whatever fathers might do they can never beat the moms.” 

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Insurance company told to pay claim
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 22
Terming the rejection of a medical claim merely on the basis of presumptions to be unjustified, the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed the United India Insurance Company to pay the claim.

President of forum, A S Narula and its members Puja Dewan, Daljit Singh Bakshi, while deciding the complaint filed by Padam Kumar of Civil Lines pronounced the orders.

The forum osberved that the insurance company had repudiated the claim merely on the basis of report filed by one of their panel doctor. The opening lines of the report of doctor mentioned that it is presumed that the complainant had willfully concealed the duration of the ailment. Any evidence to prove that the complainant, added forum, concealed the duration of ailment did not support it.

It was submitted by the complainant that he had taken a medical claim policy for the period from July 10, 2004 to July 9, 2005. The policy covered him and his wife for Rs one lakh each.

During the policy period, he suffered with some heart problem. He remained hospitalised at DMC Hero heart centre from January 7, 2005 to January 10, 2005. During his admission in DMC, acute coronary syndrome (TMT positive) single vessel disease was diagnosed and coronary angiography was done.

Hospital charged Rs 13,641 for the treatment. Apart from this he made payments for getting the medical tests done from outside the hospital. He lodged claim with the insurance company and submitted entire documents.

But the insurance company did not pay the claim and rejected it. It also cancelled the insurance policy, added the complainant.

On the other hand, the insurance company justified its action. But after appreciating the evidence on record, the consumer forum disagreed with the stand of the insurance company and ordered it to pay the claim.

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Toll tax to continue, says minister
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, October 22
The State Government is not in a position to discontinue the levy of road toll tax and as the financial status of the government is not so strong, said Parminder Singh Dhindsa PWD Minister Punjab during his short break at Raja Dhaba on Jagraon- Ludhiana, G.T. Road today while addressing a mini press conference. 

Admitting the protest by the people being raised against such levy, he disclosed that under BOTC scheme the withdrawal of such toll tax mean to face the return of 150 % to the contractors of the total amount of the tenders they spent which is not possible. The tenders for the construction of new roads now shall include the use of standard materials and maintenance for 5 year by the contractors whereas previously it was for 1 year. 

The government will hire the services of private companies for supervising the construction of the roads in the state. Referring to difference between SAD and BJP, he disclosed that such things are likely to occur in the members of the same family which shall be sorted out shortly. Four laning of Ludhiana- Ferozpur road has been sanctioned will be completed within four years. Gurcharan Singh Grewal, President of Sikh Student Federation, Jagjit Singh Talwandi Senior Vice President Shiromani Youth Akali Dal Badal were also present. 

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Drive to recover royalty from brick kilns
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 22
Vishav Bandhu, mining officer-cum-general manager, District Industries Centre, has said that they have launched a campaign to recover royalty from brick kiln owners in the district. The owners have been directed to deposit their pending amount by October 30.

Around 100 brick kiln owners have not deposited the royalty as yet. In a press note today, Vishav Bandhu said the state government charged royalty from kilns that had been producing bricks/tiles since December 24, 1999.

He said the royalty was being charged according to the size and capacity of each kiln.

He added that it was mandatory for every brick kiln owner to get a certificate of approval from the mining department before digging land for bricks.

The officer said all 315 brick kilns in the district had to deposit Rs 35 lakh as royalty every year.

Brick kiln owners had been served notices under the relevant Act and the field staff of the department had requested them to deposit the royalty.

In case of default of payment, the amount would be recovered as land revenue through collector by issuing recovery certificate.

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Job applicants wait for hours
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 22
Chaos prevailed in the zila parishad office today with 181 applicants, many of them physically challenged, who had come for appointment as teachers in government primary schools, waiting for hours for counselling to begin.

The counselling, that was to begin at 9 am, had not been started till the filing of the report. Also, those with a B.Ed degree who were to be considered for the job along with ETT teachers, were told to come tomorrow.

The Zila Parishad seemed to have been caught napping with none able to tell the applicants about the actual situation.

" I am disappointed. At first, they called me to report to them and then told me to return home," said an applicant.

The authorities had made no arrangements for the physically challenged who had to stand for hours at a stretch.‘‘We were harassed for the entire day. No one had a clue to what was going on," said an applicant who had come from Samrala.

“If the counseling was off, we should have been told so,” she said. 

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Death anniversary
Badal to attend ceremony
Tribune News Service

Khanna, October 22
A battery of politicians from the state and centre along with heads of various religious organisations are expected to converge on the town on October 26 to pay tributes to former legislator and senior Akali leader Basant Singh Khalsa.

Speaking to mediapersons here today, chief parliamentary secretary Bikramjit Singh Khalsa said Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, deputy speaker of Lok Sabha Charanjit Singh Atwal, SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar along with Sukhbir Badal would participate in a function to be organised to commemorate the 11th death anniversary of his father.

Basant Singh Khalsa was a former minister in the Akali government and represented Ropar constituency in the Lok Sabha.

He remained an active member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee for almost 17 years and also underwent imprisonment during Akali morchas.

He was elected from the Dhakha assembly constituency five times.

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Khanpur residents want Jindal to open hospital
Our Correspondent

Khanpur (Mandi Ahmedgarh), October 22
Admitting that the family of Bobby Piyush Jindal, the first and youngest Indian-American Governor of Louisiana, residents of his native village Khanpur have expressed hope that the Jindals would take steps to open a multi-specialty hospital and a medical institute affiliated to a few American universities and dedicate the same in the memory of late Madan Lal Jindal, grandfather of Bobby.

At the same time they urged the state and union governments to invite the newly- elected Governor to his native place.

Sudhama Ram Sharda and Purshotam Lal Sharda, contemporaries of Bobby's father Amar Chand, acknowledging marvelous achievement of the grandson of the village said the family should take steps to perpetuate memory of late Madan Lal Jindal whose foresightedness had brought name of the clan on the map of one of highest offices of the world.

"Amar Chand should remember that we along with our friends had impressed upon Madan Lal to allow him continue his higher studies. It was due to his being an engineer that he got married to Raj Rani another engineer and migrated to the USA. Now, it Amar Chand's turn to reciprocate and do some thing that would perpetuate his parents name in India for eve," argued Sharda brothers.

Pardeep Singh Grewal, a science teacher, said the family should open a medical college or nursing college, preferably affiliated to a few American universities. "Besides enabling boys and girls of the area get quality professional education at their doorstep the management of the proposed institute will be able to maintain it as the venture would be financially viable also," said Pardeep Singh Grewal.

Ujjagar Singh and Jagjit Singh Grewal maintained that the family should construct a multi-specialty hospital at the village. Terming public health facilities insufficient at the village the residents held that a little effort by the Jindal family could help people live a dignified life.

Meanwhile, Krishan Jindal, Semi Jindal and Subash Jindal, cousins of Bobby informed that their uncle Amar Chand had assured them that he would be visiting India soon. 

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Bike rally flagged off
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 22
“Hero Honda Bike-A-Thon”, a nationwide rally of bikers that was flagged on October 12 from four corners of the country to celebrate the company’s achievement of crossing 20 million bikes, set out on its onward journey here today.

The bikers, riding a range of company’s bikes, who reached here on October 20, today passed through some of the main streets of the city, where they were accorded a warm welcome.

The rally was flagged off by R.N. Gupta, financial commissioner (revenue appeals), and Suman Munjal, director of the company.

As part of the campaign, the rally was flagged-off simultaneously from eight cities — Srinagar, Kolhapur, Katihar, Kolkata, Kakinada, Kanyakumari, Chennai and Mangalore — on October 12.

The bikers, who are traversing thousands of kilometers across the country, will converge near Delhi by the end of the month.

The bikers will halt at key towns and cities on their way, where the company will felicitate local “Young Heroes”.

Pawan Munjal, MD and CEO, said: “This achievement is reflective of brand loyalty and the trust that the company has built amongst its customers over 
the years.” 

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Bhagat Namdev’s memorial soon: Badal
Tribune News Service

Alamgir (Ludhiana), October 22
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal announced yesterday that a befitting memorial of Bhagat Namdev would be set up in consultation with representatives of the religious and social organisations.He assured that the state would observe a gazetted holiday in place of a restricted holiday on the Parkash Utsav of Bhagat Namdev. He was addressing a state- level function organised by All-India Kashatriya Tank Pratinidhi Sabha to observe the Prakash Utsav of Bhagat Namdev at Gurdwara Manji Sahib Alamgir.

Paying tributes to Bhagat Namdev, Badal said the society, at large, had a great respect towards the Gurbani rendered by Bhagat Namdev.

Expressing concern over the poor quality of education and health services for the people, even after 60 years of Independence, the Chief Minister said the successive Union governments of the Congress were responsible for the poor state of affairs, as they had not formed concrete policies to this regard.

He said after taking over the regime in Punjab, his government had formulated many plans for strengthening the infrastructure for education and health services in the state. Badal said all district level hospitals were being connected through Internet with the prominent hospitals in big cities, from where; the doctors could consult the expert doctors on line. The Chief Minister said to provide potable drinking water in all villages, a World Bank-sponsored water supply and sanitation project worth Rs 1,280 crore had been launched.

He announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh each for the improvement in Bhagat Namdev charitable hospital and for the construction of Bhagat Namdev Community Hall in Bathinda. Later in an informal conversation with mediapersons, Badal cleared that there was no differences between the BJP and the SAD and the minor misunderstandings on some points would shortly be sorted out by holding a joint meeting.

SGPC president Avtar Singh said the SGPC would raise befitting memorials of all bhagats, bhatts and other prominent religious personalities all over the state.

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LETTERS
Iconic girls

Female feticide, abandoning of newborn girl child, second-class treatment to grown-up girls, ill-treatment at educational institutions, work places, at the hands of husbands and in in-laws and eve teasing at public places is in contrast to the treatment of girls on Ashtami.

During Navratri and Ashtami there is a scramble for girls who could be worshipped as kanjaks and offered food and gifts to invoke he blessings of Goddess for the well being of the family all over India. People can be seen jostling with each other in order to be the first one to get innocent girls to their pack of kanjaks. The preparation for inviting the girls starts a day in advance.

How are these iconic girls of Goddess Durga forgotten immediately after the Puja? Why are girls respected only on this day? Is it the fear of inviting Goddess wrath? Or, is it letting go an opportunity for fulfillment of wish by appeasing the Goddess? Whatever may be the reason, the ritual highlights one important aspect-importance of girl child.

Hariom Jindal, 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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CRIME

Five booked in cases of fraud
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 22
The division No. 5 police has booked five persons in two cases of fraud.

Complainant K.S. Manhas, a resident of Sector 32, Chandigarh, alleged that his son Manwinder Singh in connivance with his nephew Akhinder Singh allegedly forged his signature on his power of attorney document.

In another case, complainant Inder Singh, a resident of BRS Nagar, alleged that Vimal Kumar, Khusunder Jit Singh and Partap Singh, all residents of Shivpuri, allegedly prepared a power of attorney of a plot in Model Town Extension by fabricating the signature of his wife Manjit Kaur.

The accused are at large and have been booked under Sections 420, 465, 467, 468, 471 and 120B of the IPC for cheating.

Held for gambling

Twelve persons were arrested in three cases of gambling last night.

The police recovered Rs 24,730 from Chatter Singh, Karan Soni, Harminder Singh, Nanad Lal, Darshan Lal, Nirmal Singh, Satnam Singh, Ashok Kumar, Mukhtiar Singh, Ram, Balwinder Singh and Manoj Kumar for gambling at three different places. The accused were later released on bail.

Snatching

The division No. 6 police has registered a case of snatching of a mobile phone.

Complainant Jagdish Kumar, a resident of the Tajpur Road, alleged that someone snatched his mobile phone near Samrala Chowk and fled the scene on October 18 evening. The case is being investigated.

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