L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Smuggling of banned chemicals
Hunt on for Arjuna awardee
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 4
The Khanna police today launched a hunt for Rustam-e-Hind, Arjuna awardee Jagdish Singh Bhola who is allegedly the kingpin of an international gang involved in the smuggling of banned chemicals to foreign countries, including Canada.

A team led by SHO Randhir Singh raided some places in the town and surrounding villages. Gautam Cheema, Khanna SSP, said teams had been constituted to nab Bhola and his accomplices.

Bhola, a dismissed police inspector and wrestler, Gursharan Singh of Kartarpur area, Rajdeep Singh of Bathinda, Jaskaran Singh Jassa of Mukatsar, Jaspal Singh of Ludhiana, Davinder Singh of Sahnewal, Karnail Singh of Bathinda, Harbans Singh of Raikot and Rajiv Kumar of Mullanpur have been booked under the NDPS Act.

About 24.5 kg of ephedrine was seized from Rajiv Kumar two days ago.

Preliminary investigations had revealed that the gang had been smuggling the banned chemical ephedrine to other countries through a courier service and NRIs frequently visiting Punjab.

It is reported that the police would often face political and bureaucratic pressure every time he was involved in a case.

While some cases against him are pending, he has been exonerated in two cases registered under the NDPS Act in Bathinda when he was posted as SHO, Mansa.

He is known to have filed cases against those officials who had registered cases against him earlier.

Mandeep Singh said information was being gathered about NRIs who had been meeting Bhola during their visit to India.

He is reportedly the kingpin of a gang that has been smuggling ephedrine to other countries through NRIs and a courier service.



Chhat Bir’s Diwali gift to mini zoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
Ludhiana Tiger Safari has received new inmates to attract visitors this Diwali. The authorities have brought the animals from Chhat Bir Zoo, Chandigarh.

The animals include three jackals, three barking deer and two hog deer, which came a week ago. A pair of emus and eight porcupines, that came around six months ago, were released in the open in the safari today for the benefit of visitors.

The range officer, Pramod Kumar, said people had started taking interest in other animals and “we decided to bring in some more animals to attract more people to the zoo”.

The zoo authorities are taking special care of these new guests. Sonu Kumar, a zoo Keeper, said, “All the animals need special attention and care, but we are keeping a special watch on them so that they could acclimatise.”

Special care is also being taken about their diet. The diet chart has been prepared by the Chhat Bir Zoo authorities.

The jackals are being provided with special imported meat. The emus, hog deer and barking deer are on a vegetarian diet which has been enriched with proteins, including green weed, cabbage, jaggery and grams.

The zoo authorities are happy with the increase in the number of black buck from eight to 11.



In Basta
Murder case not cracked despite clues
Jupinderjit Singh/TNS

Khanna, November 4
Even after a decade, the murder case of twin sisters who were found raped and strangled in a locked wagon of a goods train at the Khanna railway station has not been solved.

All wagons of the goods train had been sealed on March 31, 1997. The train arrived on the night of April 6 at Khanna from Varanasi with none of the seals showing sign of being tampered with.

Yet, when the doors were opened after seven days, the naked bodies of the sisters were found in a gunny bag. The postmortem report said the girls had been killed 24 hours before the bodies were found.

Let alone solving the case, the railway police has not even been able to explain how the bodies reached the wagon when the doors were sealed.

A decade has gone by and the girls have not even been identified.

It was not that the police did not get clues. The gunny bag containing the bodies bore stamps of a sugar mill situated at Lakhimpur Kheri in UP.

Also, similar marks had been made on the bodies with an ink which was used to blacken the faces. There were injury marks, too.

Examination revealed that the marks were not of coal, but of black ink used in tehsil offices.

The third clue was that a Nepalese man was searching his twin sisters at the Hardwar railway station where the train had halted for some hours.

The timing of the girls gone missing and their death were quite close.

However, the clues could not help the police crack the case.

A breakthrough seemed near when a woman from Yamunanagar placed an advertisement in a vernacular daily in UP about her missing daughters. She was upset at the sight of the bodies but denied they were her daughters. However, she stayed behind for the cremation of the bodies.

She said she wanted to immerse the ashes as her daughters may have died and cremated by someone without the rites.

The woman was a divorcee and was living with her paramour who worked in a tehsil in Yamunanagar. The ink could be traced to it, but the train had not stopped there.

The Nepalese man could not be traced. The police said the girls might have been involved in flesh trade and may have encountered a group of drunken men.

The case was closed long ago. An official of the railway police, preferring anonymity, said there must have been some loophole in the investigation because the leads could have been developed.



SC directive lost in din
Marriage celebrations get louder at night
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
The judiciary had intervened to save the environment by passing a judgement on noise pollution two years ago but the local authorities have failed to implement the order by conveniently forgetting about it in the din of marriage season.

The Supreme Court had banned the use of loudspeakers at night in December, 2005 but the direction is yet to trickle down to the ground as the ban continues to go up in the air even as the authorities sit smugly after doing their paper work.

On Friday, while carrying out his duty as district magistrate, deputy commissioner Sumer Singh Gurjar had banned the use of loudspeakers between 10 pm and 6 am in the district. However, the ban has had little effect on Ludhianvis, who have danced to blaring music at marriage palaces across the city during the past two nights.

Marriage processions were carried out on roads and firecrackers set off well after the deadline.

While residents living near the palaces found hard to get sleep, the enforcement authorities were deep in slumber.

Music and sound of firecrackers echoed well past midnight all along the Ferozepore Road, Pakhowal Road, Daad village and many other areas in the city.

“This happens every year. There is no one to enforce the ban. But after the apex court’s initiative to curtail noise at night we were hopeful that we would get some relief. That was not to be. Even the court’s orders have no meaning here,” said Jagtar Singh, a resident who lives near a marriage palace.

Bugged by persistence noise during the season prompted a Punjab Agricultural University professor to shift from his residence near a marriage palace in Daad to a peaceful place.

He said he had moved from pillar to post to get the directive enforced but lost and had to go packing himself instead of making the violators bite the dust.



13 sweet shops raided
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 4
There was no respite for sweetmeat sellers in the city as health officials carried out raids on 13 shops, including some big ones, in different parts of the city yesterday.

Teams of officials collected 19 samples of sweets, particularly those made from “khoya”, in the wake of reports that large consignments of synthetic “khoya” had arrived in the city from neighbouring states to meet the increased demand during the festival season.

The samples were sent to the government laboratory for chemical analysis and appropriate action under the relevant law would be taken against offenders.

The shops raided were Krishna Sweets and Mai Baap Sweets in Sabzi Mandi Chowk; Aman Sweets, near Salem Tabri; Amar Sweets in Shivpuri; Lyallpur Sweets on Gokul Road; Gentleman Sweets, near Partap Chowk; Dhodha Sweets, Bikaner Sweets and Bengali Sweets in Ghumar Mandi Chowk; Gulabwala Sweets on Mall Road; Raj Sweets and Sharma Sweets in Model Town and Avtar Sweets.

The health staff also conducted inspection of kitchens of these shops to ascertain if norms of cleanliness and personal hygiene were being followed.

In the course of their drive against food adulteration, the health officials have already unearthed a unit making synthetic “khoya” in the city from where nine quintal of sweets was seized, while another seven quintal of synthetic “khoya” was seized as it was being transported to different sweet shops during past few days.

Civil surgeon Dr Sat Pal Sharma said two teams headed by Dr U.S. Sooch and district health officer Dr S.S. Dhir along with food inspectors and supporting staff had carried out raids and collected samples of “burfi”, “kalakand”, milk cake, “gulab jamun”, “rasgulla” and other sweets.

The civil surgeon said the campaign against food adulteration items will continue and defaulters will not be spared.



Two boys run over by truck, 1 killed
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, November 4
One child was killed on the spot while another was seriously injured near Umaidpur village when they were run over by a truck last evening.

Rukmaan (14) and Mandeep Singh (13), both residents of Model Town, Sahnewal, were driving a scooter on the Sahnewal-Tibba road when a truck (HR 63-B 2454) hit them from behind, killing Rukmaan on the spot.

Mandeep Singh was seriously injured. According doctors at Apollo Hospital, his condition is critical.

Onlookers said the truck driver was driving rashly and did not apply the brakes in time.

He tried to flee, but was nabbed by the police at Pohir near Mandi Ahmedgarh.



Boy electrocuted during sports meet
Kin allege negligence; want admn to fix responsibility
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 4
Two months after their son was electrocuted, during zonal sports meet at Sahnewal allegedly due to negligence on the part of school authorities, the aggrieved family wants that the administration should fix the responsibility for the tragic incident.

Hukam Singh, a student and member of Kabaddi team of Government Senior Secondary School, Karamsar, who had gone to take part in the zonal school sports at Sahnewal was electrocuted after he came in contact with the Railways high tension wires on August 27 and succumbed to injuries at a hospital in Ludhiana on September 3. The family alleged that their son died due to negligence on the part of the school authorities and demanded a probe into the matter and stern action against erring officials.

The school authorities on the other hand had maintained that the student had gone to Sahnewal voluntarily and they had not asked him to do so.

In complaint lodged with higher authorities, including the Chief Minister and education minister Hardev Singh of Khatra village alleged that the school authorities, including the principal and the in charge of the sports wing, had shown negligence while sending Kabaddi teams to Sahnewal for taking part in the zonal tournament in August.

“Instead of sending students along with teachers through a proper mode of transportation, the authorities compelled my son to take them in our tractor driven trolley. As there was nobody to keep an eye on students at Sahnewal they roamed about and Hukam got electrocuted inadvertently,” alleged Hardev Singh and his brother, Sikander Singh.

Though Hukam was admitted to the hospital in Ludhiana shortly after the accident his treatment started only after his parents deposited the money at the hospital’s counter. Hukam succumbed to his injuries on September 3.

The aggrieved family received a rude shock when the school authorities instead of standing by them pressurised them against seeking action against erring officials.

“Though we had made up our mind to accept the tragedy as our fate, our family members felt disturbed when nobody from the school bothered to call on us even to say a few words of sympathy,” said Hardev adding that they don’t want compensation but action against erring officials so that such incidents might not reoccur.



Parking a casualty at marriage palaces
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
With marriage season kicking off right after Diwali, long traffic jams threaten to test the patience of motorists here. Thanks to mushrooming of unplanned marriage palaces, commuters will once again have to face inconvenience on the city roads.

The district administration, too, finds it difficult to streamline traffic, as ministers and other leaders are often part of the long list of invitees to a majority of these functions.

There are around 10 big and small marriage palaces along the Ferozepore Road.

Barring one or two, none of the palaces has proper parking arrangements. As a result, guests end up parking their vehicles haphazardly along the road, thus blocking the traffic.

The worst hit are those who travel long distances to places like Baddowal, Mullanpur, Jagraon, etc. Also, residents of surrounding villages feel harassed because of the nuisance.

A marriage palace owner, on condition of anonymity, says since the palaces fall outside the jurisdiction of the Ludhiana municipal corporation, these do not follow the building bylaws.

While these palaces have sprawling lawns, there is hardly any space for parking of guests’ vehicles.

Retired Prof B.S. Dhanda, who lives near the PCTE, says it is the responsibility of the district administration to ensure that the palaces have parking arrangements.

A majority of these have capacity to hold around 1,000 people but they hardly bother about parking blues, he avers.

Besides parking, blaring music and use of firecrackers also cause inconvenience to general public.

Residents have brought the matter to the notice of the authorities concerned but to no avail. “Repeated representations to the district administration have failed to yield any result,” he rues.

“A case was registered against one of the marriage palace owner some years ago but no action was taken against him. Marriages bring joy to many but for us they are a source of nuisance,” says Deepa Goel, a resident of Rajguru Nagar.

Expressing his helplessness, an official with the district administration says: “How can we stop ministers and their brigade? Rather, we have to escort them to the venue.”



Prophet Mohammad remembered
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
A function was organised in memory of Prophet Hazrat Mohammad at Cycle Market, Gill Road, here today. The function was organised under the guidance of Shahi Imam Maulana Habib-ur-Rehman.

Shahi Iman, said not only Muslims but people from other religions, too, get inspiration from prophet’s teachings. He said this was the right time to follow path of great prophet as the society is losing its track in this materialised world.



Loss of life

I was shocked to read (Ludhiana Tribune, 30-10-2007) that two accidents had taken place on the Ferozepur road near the octroi post in two months resulting in the death of four persons and injury to five persons.

It may be partly be due to the road blockade caused by the ongoing sewer work or due to bus drivers who are equally at fault as in both cases buses had collided with the cars. Bus drivers never observe any traffic rules. They never stop at traffic signals.

They drive buses at breakneck speed as if others have no right over the roads. They keep headlights of their vehicles on full beam and many a times invite accidents. The local traffic police should strictly enforce traffic rules and impose fine on violators.

B.S. Thind, 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.



Man’s body found
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
The body of an unidentified man was found in a vacant plot in Ladoo Colony, near Jodhewal Basti, this evening.

According to the police, the man was murdered with a sharp-edged weapon and was stoned several times.

A passerby noticed the body and informed the police. The victim is said to a middle-aged migrant labourer.

The police has sent the body for a post-mortem examination.



1 killed in accident

Jagraon, November 4
Sukhdev Singh (23) of Bughipura was killed and Gagandeep Singh of the same village injured when a Tata Sumo (HR-01F-1087) driven by Hakam Singh of Talwandi Maliana dashed against a motor cycle (PB-10BN-4263) near T point Nanaksar on the Moga-Ludhiana GT Road.

The motorcyclists were on their way to their native village. Both were admitted to a local civil hospital. From there Sukhdev Singh was referred to Ludhiana but died on the way. Sumo driver managed to flee. The vehicle has been impounded and case registered against the Sumo driver. — OC



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