L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Sadhvi found strangled in dera
Absconding servant prime suspect
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
A 50-year-old Sadhvi was found strangled in her room at Dera Hira Sudesh Puri, near SDP College, yesterday.

She seemed to have been killed three days ago and the body was decomposed.

The police has booked her servant, Ravi Kumar. The main basis of the suspicion was that he was missing from the dera.

The motive of the murder is unclear, even as a manhunt for the accused has been launched. The police has learnt that he belongs to Meerut. The woman, being a sadhvi, did not have many valuables to attract such a crime.

She had been strangled with a dupatta. There was no sign of sexual assault or a major struggle by the woman to save herself. She was dressed in saffron clothes.

The murder came to light when a resident went to request her to perform a puja at his house on Diwali.

He suspected something fishy when foul smell emanated from the room and no one answered the door. Later, ashram officials and the police broke open the door.

Prem Chand Gupta, younger brother of the woman, said she had renounced the world over 15 years ago. “I can’t understand why anyone would want to kill her. She had no enemies,” he said.

Inspector Pardeep Singh, SHO Division No 4 police, said the servant was not seen for the past three days and that made him a prime suspect. “We have dispatched teams to nab him.” 



Diwali was greener this time
Fewer firecrackers were sold
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
Owing to appeals by environmentalists and awareness created by schools among children, residents burst fewer crackers this Diwali if a dip in the sale of crackers is any indication.

For the past several years, the cracker dealers’ association has been registering a sale between Rs 1.5 to Rs 2 crore, but this year the association made only Rs 1 crore.

An office-bearer of the association, Sanjay Kumar Singla, said as compared to last year, the sale was nearly half.

“It was all because schools created awareness among students. As dealers exchanged notes, we realised that this time not many children came to buy crackers,” he said.

He said though the trend went in favour of environment, dealers were ruing the development as they were left with a lot of material that was not sold. “We could sell only half of the material we had bought. We do not know what to do with the rest,” he added.

Residents also said it was a greener Diwali this time. “In our immediate surroundings, people would burst crackers, but this time it was on the lower side,” Dr Sandeep K. Jain, an animal rights activist, said.

“We should not reduce the festival of lights to a festival of smoke. Even now a lot needs to be done. We hope things would only get better with the passage of time,” he added.

At the same time, several residents not only ignored the appeals by environmentalists, but also defied the district magistrate's orders banning the bursting of crackers after 11 pm. The city wore a thick blanket of smoke as the crackers continued to be burst till 2 am. 



Celebrations turn grim — brothers among 3 killed
Tribune Reporters

Samrala/Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 10
Two brothers were killed on the spot when their motorcycle collided with a tempo near Chehalan village, 3 km from here, yesterday.

According to reports, Jagreet Singh (25) and Bikramjeet Singh (22), residents of Katani Khurd village, were going to their village when a Tata tempo loaded with scrap hit the motorcycle and later a tree. The driver fled from the spot.

The marriage of Jagpreet Singh had been fixed for November 25. Residents of his village did not celebrate Diwali after hearing the news of his death.

The bodies were handed over to the family after a postmortem. The bodies were later cremated. A case has been registered.

Meanwhile, a youth and three buffaloes were killed in two separate accidents in the area on Diwali night. While the owner of the buffaloes was yet to be identified, the Dehlon police has registered an FIR against unidentified persons for causing the death of the youth.

Avinash Lalli, son of Rajinder Singh of Kilaraipur, was killed after the motorcycle he was riding was hit by a speeding Sumo near Narangwal Chowk last night.

Sources at Dehlon police station said Avinash along with his friends had gone to greet her sister’s family at Nangal village in last evening. He asked his friend Inderjit to drive the car and he himself was on the motorcycle.

It was near Narangwal Chowk that a speeding Sumo collided with the motorcycle. The Sumo driver fled from the scene. Avinash was declared brought dead at civil hospital, Dehlon. Prem Singh, SHO, Dehlon, said the body of the deceased had been handed over to the family after conducting a postmortem. A case under Section 304 A has been registered.

At least three buffaloes were killed in another accident when the truck carrying them collided with a tree at Chhapar village last night. The passersby had a narrow escape. 



43 fire incidents reported
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
Fire-fighters remained on their toes throughout last night as the city reported 43 fires, mostly due to crackers.

All 28 fire engines of the MC were pressed into service to put out the fires.

The fires were largely reported from Purana Bazar and Trunk Bazar and the peripheral areas. According to the chief fire officer, Kartar Singh, there was no major fire as the fire-fighters acted swiftly and controlled the fires well in time.



Hike in stamp duty hits sale deeds
Revenue loss worth Rs 2.6 cr in October
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
The business of registration of sale deeds and other immovable property in the city got a big jolt with revenue loss of Rs 2.60 crore in October alone to the state exchequer. As compared to October 2006, when approximately 1,600 documents were registered, only 595 registries could be executed this October. The exchequer, which used to get several lakhs every day in the sale-deed business in the district, lost crores last month due to the enhanced stamp duty.

It is learnt that the state government has increased the stamp duty on both agricultural and urban land from "75 per cent to 500 per cent" due to which there has been a lot of resentment among property dealers, too. But it is again the common man, who is suffering because of the hike as it has become difficult for him to show such a huge amount in white.

Kartar Singh, an agriculturist near Mullanpur Dakha, said though all over the state, there had been an increase but in Ludhiana district, the collector rate had increased manifold. He said, "Earlier, the registration fees was Rs 2,20,000 per acre which had now increased to Rs 12 lakh per acre. In some areas, it has increased up to Rs 15 lakh even. Such an increase is not at all justified. We cannot afford to spend such a huge amount to get our land registered", he complained.

A clerk, working in the district administration office, said it was the common man, who stood to suffer in the entire process. “Though property dealers have also been protesting against the fee hike as their business is affected, it is the common man who will think twice while getting a property in the district due to the hike in the collector’s rate.

Perhaps this is the only reason for the decrease in the number of property documents registered in October”, he said. 



Mongrel got down from billboard after 4 hrs
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
A four-hour rescue operation was undertaken to get a mongrel down from the eighth floor of a bank building at Feroze Gandhi market today.

The rescue operation was conducted by the animal welfare office and MC security guards after the fire department expressed its helplessness in this regard.

Fire department officials said it was not their duty to save the animal and they did not have a ladder.

An MC official told the callers to contact animal rights activists. He said the MC had a tranquilising gun but no expert to use it.

It all began this morning when a mongrel was spotted perched precariously on a billboard. It had probably reached there after climbing the staircase and jumping on to the billboard through an open window.

Rakesh Jain, honorary animal welfare officer, led the operation with the help of security guards posted with various offices in the building.

It took over an hour to tempt the animal with biscuits, which it ate but returned to the corner soon after. They again tried to lure it with biscuits and once it got close enough, a rope was tied around its neck. With difficulty the security guards managed to pull it inside the building.

The animal was so scared that even after landing on the road, it did not move for nearly 15 minutes. It was in a playful mood after that.



Missing scrap dealer’s body found
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
Nine days after a local scrap dealer went missing, his decomposed body was found under mysterious circumstances from a canal in Dabbwali, near Bathinda, this morning.

Pramod Kumar had left his house in Prabhat Nagar on November 1. He said he was going to collect payment from a client. Later, his scooter was found parked at a stand in Giaspura. Police sources said it was unclear whether he was killed or had committed suicide.



Diwali marred by traffic jams
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
The festival of lights was celebrated with religious fervour and enthusiasm by city residents here last night. The entire city, including markets, shopping malls, industrial units, houses, temples and gurdwaras, were decorated tastefully, with colourful lights, to celebrate the festival.

Though various NGOs and schools had appealed to the general public to celebrate a Green Diwali this time by saying no to crackers, still crackers worth lakhs of rupees were burst by the residents.

Many children and elders were seen covering their faces with handkerchiefs to avoid air pollution while bursting crackers.

Since morning, people were seen carrying Diwali gifts for their near and dear ones. There were jams in markets and the traffic police vehicles were there to regulate the traffic till late evening.

Temples and gurdwaras were decorated with multicoloured lights. Residents visited religious places to seek blessings. 



Uniforms distributed on Diwali
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahhmedgarh, November 10
Celebrating Diwali in a novel way, Khem Singh Dulman distributed uniforms and woollens to students of five government schools in the area.

More than 500 students from various government schools were provided uniforms, woollens and shoes by Dulman. Religious functions and ‘paths’ were arranged at schools.

"Instead of spending a big amount on bursting crackers, I spent the money on a noble cause," said Dulman.

He called upon people to come to the rescue of poor students whose parents were not able to get them books and stationery. 



Communal harmony must for development: Dhindsa
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 10
Terming communal harmony to be the need of the hour for sustained development of the state, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, MP and secretary general of SAD, called upon office-bearers of various social and religious organisations to impress upon members of their respective communities to celebrate festivals collectively.

He urged people to imbibe teachings of Baba Vishawkarma, Lord Rama and the Sikh gurus.

Dhindsa said the nation in general and Punjab in particular had suffered an irreparable loss due to venomous agenda of certain political leaders.

“It is time to ponder that communal harmony is the only alternative to save energy that could be utilised for developmental projects. Celebrating festivals irrespective of caste and creed divide is shortest route to achieve target of absolute communal harmony,” said Dhindsa. 



Founder’s day celebrated
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
The management, staff and students of Guru Tegh Bahadur National College, Dakha, celebrated founder’s day today to commemorate the memory of Baba Jiwa Singh, a philanthropist, who donated his entire land to uplift the cause of higher education among rural youth.

Dr Daljeet Singh Cheema, chief Adviser to the CM, Punjab, was the chief guest. Darshan Singh Shivalik was the guest of honour. Dr Dharmjit Singh, principal of the college welcomed the chief guest and other dignitaries.

He shared the achievements of the college in the field of academics, co-curricular activities and sports. The students of the college presented a cultural programme.



Check price rise

The Senior Citizens Association, Ludhiana, wants to express its serious concern over the rise in power rates by Punjab government and Punjab State Electricity Board. It is a burden on the poor people, especially senior citizens in the state, since the Akali-BJP government has come in power no funds have been issued for the welfare schemes for the senior citizens such as old age pensions and pensions for the disabled. Rather Punjab government has put extra burden on the people by increasing the prices of daily used items. This increase will further push up overall prices in the state. The association has demanded immediate withdrawal of the increase in power rates, taxes on sugar and steel.

Bal Kishan, Ludhiana

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