L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

5-yr-old sodomised, killed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 29
A close friend of a migrant labourer gave his family a nightmare by killing his five-year-old son after sodomising him late last night. The accused, a Nepalese labourer, was arrested this evening.

The semi-naked body of the victim, Dheeraj, was found from a vacant plot near Gobindgarh village this morning. Search parties formed by migrant families found the body.

The post-mortem examination revealed that he was sodomised. The accused strangled him when the child was crying for help.

Dheeraj, youngest of three sons, and a daughter of a labourer Ravinder Shah had gone missing last evening. His father and other villagers tried their best to find him.

According to the police, the accused, Ayodhya Nepali, had allegedly lured the child with sweets to accompany him. He was well known to the family and frequented the house. The police suspected him, as he too was missing from his rented room.

When the body was found this morning, the police launched a search for him. He was later caught trying to escape from the city.

He confessed to his crime, claiming he did not intend to kill the child. "I was just preventing him from shouting for help. I forcibly kept his mouth closed with my hand. I realised he was dead only when he stopped struggling."

The cops had taken the blood samples of the accused for medical examination to find out if he was a drug addict or was under the influence of liquor. The report is awaited.

Meanwhile, heart-rending scenes were witnessed at the house of the victim. They live in a rented room in Balwindrr da Vehra in Gobindgarh village. The "vehra" is a cluster of rooms where mostly migrant labourers live. The accused Ayodhya Nepali regularly visited the house.

Ravinder Shah hurled choicest of curses for the accused. He said he was more shocked as his own friend was the cause of a major tragedy in his life. 



Minister proposes, admin disposes
2 booths sealed after inauguration
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 29
In a typical case of minister proposes and babus dispose, two commercial booths in the new courts complex were sealed by the district administration just a few hours after minister for jails Hira Singh Gabria had inaugurated them. 

Incidentally, the minister was conferred with the title of ‘‘messiah of the poor’’ by deed writers and allottees of 44 booths in the area in the morning for his efforts to help these persons work from the booths.

Gabria had stated in his address on the occasion that in the regime of Akalis nobody was made to suffer as justice was meted out to everybody. He had stated that these people deserved the booths and were the rightful allottees.

While two photostat machine owners were allotted these two booths in the new courts complex, some persons, allegedly backed by a political leader, had tried to occupy the booths by throwing out the goods of the occupants. The alleged encroachers had even painted the boards of these shops afresh when these people had staged a dharna.

They had approached Gabria after the incident, who had helped them in talking to the deputy commissioner, who had finally allowed them to keep working from these booths. As a thanksgiving, the deed writers, led by the Old Kacheri Welfare Association, had organised a function in the morning yesterday where Gabria was the chief guest. He was specially honoured on the occasion.

Just a few hours after he had left the scene, a team of the district administration led by naib tehsildar Joginder Singh, who was accompanied by a heavy posse of police, sealed the two booths (number 11 and 12).

When the deed writers protested, Joginder Singh said he had verbal orders from the additional deputy commissioner K.P. Brar. He said she only had directed them to do so. Brar was not available for comments.

President of the association Ajit Singh Batra said the naib tehsildar could not produce the written orders. ‘‘We are going to tell Gabria about the same. He is busy for the time being and whenever he is free, we will go to him, ’’ said Batra. 



Looking Ahead
Civic amenities for urban poor on MC agenda
Breather for committees managing parks
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 29
There is a breather for city parks once again with the Municipal Corporation resolving to pay at the rate of Re 1 per sq metre to the Park Management Committees in the city that have been managing the lungs of the city quite well.

The New Year-2008 is expected to provide a whiff of fresh air as the MC has already written to the local bodies department to pay them as per their demands. A direction to this effect has already been given by the High Court following a petition by S.S. Chana, a local resident who has been spearheading a campaign for the parks in the city for last many years.

Commissioner, MC, Vikas Partap, while talking to The Tribune today said he was himself keen on providing the PMCs their due as several of the committees have been working quite well to maintain the parks.

‘‘We have forwarded the resolution of MC house to the government. We are just awaiting a nod by the government. I hope the start of New Year would bring good news for the PMCs also,’’ said Partap.

He said the city was all set to witness major developments under the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission in the coming year. The development was expected this year but due to lengthy preparation of documents required, it was delayed. He said the project would envisage civic amenities for the urban poor.

They would provide sewerage facilities and potable water to the urban poor, who were forced to live in slums.

The sewermen too have a reason to rejoice. The MC is seriously thinking of providing them safety kits to save them from asphyxia while they get down in manholes. Three deaths have already taken place due to the same reason during this year. The MC had already bought some kits, that the sewermen rejected stating that these were too big to be carried in Ludhiana's manholes.

‘‘We have now spoken to the union leaders of these people and would soon reach a solution,’’ said the Commissioner.

The long-pending issue of non-linking of elevated road too would be hopefully dissolved as the MC has studied several angles and places where the road could be linked to the old city.

‘‘The ROB in place of lakkar bridge was conceived 10 years ago. And the elevated road was designed seven years ago. Now these designs are not practical. The only solution is acquisition of land which is not possible. So we are on the job of gifting a linked elevated road to the residents.’’ said Partap.

The MC was also considering the Budda Nullah pollution issue, covering of old nullah which have been hanging fire for quite some time.  



City set to usher 2008 in style
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 29
Bidding adieu to 2007, city residents are all set to welcome 2008 with great pomp and show. Assuring loads of fun are hotels, clubs and malls that have chalked out entertaining programmes, celebrity shows, dance parties and elaborate meals to match the occasion.

At the city’s Fortune Klassik, the night of 31st will have Mann brothers, Harbhajan and Gursewak, making people dance to their peppy numbers. "It is after a lot of years that I would be performing in India. The songs would include numbers from my latest album, which is yet to be released," said Harbhajan Mann while announcing the event schedule here today.

Brother Gursewak was quick to add: "There is no better way to welcome the New Year than with dance and music which is what the 'Punjabi Night’ here would offer."

In addition to the ‘Punjabi Night’ would be turkey dishes, multi- cuisines and an arrangement for nearly 500 couples for the D-day. “There would be a dance troupe, DJ, lucky draws, surprise prizes and lots of fun-we are all geared up to make it a very special evening for our guests on the New Year eve,” said Sunil Khera from the hotel.

The fun would be no less at Park Plaza where guests would be entertained by dancers from Moscow, a Polish band, candle light dinner, an international DJ, live ghazal show and a lot more.

With the hotel having done preparations for 175 couples to be part of the New Year celebrations, the rates start from Rs 1,000 per person and go up to Rs 6,500 a couple.

Dance being a synonym for fun for the Punjabis, Nagpal Regency has planned a ‘Nach balliye’ night were a Delhi-based DJ has been specially invited to make people dance their way into 2008. Food, of course, would be special to complement the eve.

At Friends Regency, the organisers have planned item numbers by Dubai-based and also Delhi-based dancers, apart from a renowned DJ.

Most of the hotels are already bedecked for the occasion. Several of them would be distributing surprise gifts to their guests.

Not lagging behind, city malls and large outlets have already begun celebrations by offering special gifts and heavy discounts for their buyers.

The first mall of the town, Ansal Plaza, is offering lucky coupons to buyers and would give gift coupons to winners, whose names are planned to be announced at the beginning of the New Year. Setting the mood is the decor, where one can enjoy the ambience bedecked with balloons et al, the mall bursting with joy.  



Jewellers, police at loggerheads
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 29
A two-month old incident of Rs 6.40 lakh jewellery theft by two alleged members of the notorious "pebble gang" from Bhola Jewellers, Sahnewal, has returned to haunt the city police with the victim shopkeeper claiming that the police let off the two suspects, traced and detained by them.

Doing a Sherlock Holmes, the jewellers of Dashmesh Market where the shop was located found the two teenagers after a two-month-long struggle. However, they allege the police released them without recovering any jewellery.

The association has even submitted an affidavit about tracing the youths to the police and the media. Without accusing the cops of corruption, they allege that the teenagers had confessed to their crime before the shopkeepers but the police did not believe them.

The “distrust” over the cops stems from the problems faced in registering an FIR of the incident. The affidavit states that the jewellery stolen was worth Rs 6.40 lakh but the police took it as theft of about Rs 3 lakh only.

Further, the FIR was not registered immediately. It was only after newspapers highlighted the incident and a delegation of the association met the SSP that the FIR was lodged.



Furnace units upset over power tariff hike
Serve ultimatum, to go on strike
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, December 29
Though the state government under the BJP’s pressure had announced to withdraw 8 to 9 per cent hike in power tariff its non-implementation has made the future of 20,000 families which depend on steel industry bleak. Decision to withdraw the hike has remained only on papers whereas the bills are being charged on the hiked rates.

Contrary to the expectations, the New Year gift of a revised PSEB order for depositing the three months bills in advance with effect from January 1 has perturbed the furnace industry, which has decided to serve an ultimatum to the government to withdraw the decision by January 5. They will also observe three-day token strike to draw government’s attention. In case, it failed to accept their demand the strike would be extended for an indefinite period.

Talking to mediapersons here today furnace Association chief Mohinder Gupta, accompanied by senior vice-president Raj Bansal and treasurer Gopal Singhi said the revenue collection of the Central government as Central Excise from this town touches Rs 300 crores per month besides VAT, PF and house tax. Above all Rs 50 crore is paid to the PSEB as power tariff per month. If the additional burden of Rs 150 crore of advance power tariff bills is enforced on the shoulders of industry which is already reeling under financial crisis and competition of neighbouring states, will fail to survives. It will further create labour unrest.  



At the Crossroads
Ushering in the New Year

The tendency to judge others by the yardstick of one’s own mindset is gaining ground. This is an offshoot of holier-than-thou attitude that can be termed as egotistical. Such ‘pretenders of faith’ forget that their off the cuff comments can stem the growth of the person’s awareness of life who is their target. 

To go back to the centuries past to quote scriptures is like seeking crutches for the doddering feet. Human mind is ever in search of new avenues of expression and with this purpose in view it can reject the old concepts of right and wrong.

Rapport among the members of both the sexes in social gatherings and cultural seminars can be regarded as a blessed opportunity for viewing the beauteous forms of human existence. The warmth of genuine greetings and the exchange of fresh ideas broaden the outlook and provide depth to the insight. All this is, in fact, a prelude to creativity in one form or another. The presence of someone somewhere can be discussed in a lighter mood, without casting aspersions on the character of anyone. The hurried unpleasant remarks determine the presence of envy or jealousy in the subconscious mind. It is better to dissolve the frowns on the forehead into the curled up smiling lips. This can save malicious comments and in return the commentator can keep the peace of his mind.

The week between Christmas celebrations and New Year greetings is the period of time when negative concepts can be replaced by positive concepts. Renewal is the law of nature and ‘making it new’ is the need of the time. The adage that ‘the old order changeth yielding place to the new’ has an eternal appeal for mankind.

When a new year dawns the memories of the past events rush up in the mind and one feels nostalgic. It is true that times have changed and the things are not what they seem but, at the same time, it cannot be denied that most of the fears invariably turn out to be phantom fears. The world at present is poised, so it appears, for a disastrous denouement. The biggest threat is from the terrorists who have no qualms to wreak havoc at the hour of their choosing. They lurk like snakes in the grass. They are misguided and are woefully unaware of their villainous roles. Like Iago, they are the victims of ‘motiveless malignity’, even if they appear to have nefarious designs.

Fundamentalists have the capacity to revive themselves in every age. They come back with vengeance and strike with renewed vigour. These so-called saviours of faith are, in fact, eroding the monument of human dignity. The message that has come down from Jesus Christ, Lord Buddha and Guru Nanak is couched in three words - ‘Sarbat da Bhala’.

— N.S. Tasneem 



PSEB not to recover advance deposit right now 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 29
Maintaining that the hue and cry being raised by several trade and industrial organisations, as also other categories of consumers in the state on recovery of security (consumption) or advance consumption deposit (ACD) is misplaced and an overreaction, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has clarified that the said deposit is not liable to be recovered right now.

Sources in the PSEB further stated that consumers were either ill-informed or were being deliberately misguided on the issue by vested interests who were out to draw political mileage and embarrass the SAD-BJP government in Punjab.

That the proposed decision on security against consumption will not take effect immediately is also very clear from a public notice issued by Chief Engineer (Commercial) of the PSEB.

According to the said public notice, the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) had formulated an Electricity Supply Code and related Matters Regulations 2007 vide its notification dated 29-6-2007. The regulations which are to take effect from January 1, 2008, make it mandatory vide clause 15 for the consumers to maintain security with PSEB equal to average consumption for three months in case of bimonthly billing cycles and for two months in case of monthly billing cycles.

However, clause 16 of the regulations also lays down that for existing consumers, first review of the security (consumption) will be undertaken by the PSEB within 12 months after issue of tariff order for the year 2008-09 for which average revenue return (ARR) and tariff application is yet to be filed by the board with the PSERC.

The entire exercise of filing the ARR and tariff application with the PSERC will be undertaken sometimes during the next year and further the commission has an elaborate mechanism in place to invite suggestions and objections from consumers before taking a final decision on the tariff application submitted by the PSEB, the sources added.

In view of these facts, the consumers ought to have no apprehension of immediate recovery of security.



Gurdas Mann enthrals with golden oldies 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 29
Singer Gurdas Mann enthralled the audience with his music at the Lodhi Club here last night. The evening, a celebration to welcome the New Year, saw people turning up in large numbers to have a glimpse of their favourite star.

Mann started the show with his popular numbers and it was when he presented “Chhalla...”, and later “Baith ke Vekh Jawaana...” among other songs, that the audiences were on their toes. The singer sang a few songs bearing social message as well.

At the Guru Nanak Dev Bhawan here, last night witnessed the first live performance by city boy Ishmeet Singh. The moment was joyous for Singh, the winner of “Voice of India”, as his very presence at the stage encouraged people, particularly the youth to climb the stage and dance.

Among the numbers he sang during the programme, organised by the Ludhiana Sanskritik Samagam, were ‘Jab se tere naina’ from “Saanwariya”, “Maujan hi maujan” and “Main shayaar to nahin...” A music troupe from Delhi also performed on the occasion. 



Nine booked for trespass
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, December 29
Nine persons have been booked for creating nuisance during the engagement of a man. 

Jagmail Singh in his complaint lodged with the Sidhwan Bet police alleged that Jagdeep Singh and Amandeep Singh of Swaddi Kalan, Jagjit Singh, Mandeep Singh, Manjit Singh of Badowal, Jagjit Singh of Sekhupura, Inderjit Singh and Gurmukh Singh of Pamal and Hardeep Singh of Bhanohar entered into his house at Swaddi Kalan and assaulted him with baseball, iron pipe and sticks, threatened and tried to create trouble in the during his son’s engagement ceremony.

A case was registered against the accused and all of them booked under Sections 452, 427, 295-A, 323, 506, 148, 149 of
the IPC.

Murder bid, 7 booked

Butta Singh, Nikku, Mali and Kulbir Singh of Akhara along with three others have been booked under Sections 307, 427, 506, 294, 148, 149 of the IPC and Sections 25, 27, 54, 59 of the Arms Act for abusing and threatening Beant Singh of their village. They also fired six shots with intention to kill. An old enmity is said to be the reason behind the incident.

Cyclist killed

Malkit Singh of Ghwadi died when a speeding vehicle hit his cycle. The Dehlon police has registered a case under Sections 304-A, 279, 427 of the IPC on the complaint of Gurmial Singh of the same village.  



Teachers’ strike enters fifth day 
Block traffic; reports sent to authorities 
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 29
Activists of a few teachers’ unions continued to protest against the alleged anti-education policies of the state government, on the fifth day today. They were protesting against the seminars being organised under the Sarab Sikhya Abhiyan at schools here and at villages falling under Sangrur and Ludhiana districts.

Besides organising protest rallies, the activists burnt effigies of the Chief Minister and the education minister and blocked traffic at a few places from 2 pm to 3 pm.

Like earlier days, the teachers got their presence marked during the opening and closing sessions but did not attend any lecture. The resource persons and experts, engaged by the authorities, had to return empty-handed.

A large number of teachers, associated with the Government Teachers Union, SCBC Teachers Union and the ETT Teachers Union boycotted seminars being organised at MGMN Senior Secondary School here and GSSS schools at Kanganwal, Pohir, Dehlon, Latala and Malaudh villages.

Sikandar Singh Jartoli, Ram Singh Dehliz, Nirmal Singh, Balbir Singh Dhaler, Balwant Singh, Harbans Singh Aulakh, Sukhdev Singh, Harbans Kaur, Kamikar Singh, Karnail Kaur and Surinder Singh addressed the rallies at these schools.

According to Gurtej Singh Grewal, DEO (Elementary), Sangrur, no untoward incident was reported from the district. “Though teachers did not attend lectures at any schools in the district, they remained within the premises of their respective schools. Reports received from coordinators at these schools have been forwarded to higher authorities for action at their end,” said Grewal while talking to the Ludhiana Tribune. 

Our Correspondent

Jagraon, December 29
A large number of teachers from different unions who have formed the sarkari sikhya bacho manch continued their boycott for the fifth day today in protest against the seminars being organized under Sarv Sikhya Abhiyan on the premises of the local Government Senior Secondary School and Sidhwan Bet. They also took out a protest march and staged a dharna on the Jagraon-Ludhiana G.T. Road thereby blocking the traffic coming from Moga and Ludhiana sides.

The union leaders like Harbans Singh Badesha, Ashok Bhandari, Harbajan Singh Sidhu, Inderjit Singh Sidhu, Kamaljit Khanna while addressing the gathering blamed the state government for burdening the state ex-chequer as such seminars were just wastage of the teachers’ time and that too during the winter vacations.

The speakers while highlighting the education policy of the government stated it was being done to seek crores of rupees from the Centre in the name of education. The speakers deplored the education policy of the state government as it is bent upon destroying the government schools as the private companies are going to establish new schools with the government funds. None is bothered about filling the existing 50,000 teachers’ posts lying vacant.

The teachers demanded immediate withdrawal of the suspension orders of those who were suspended for not attending the seminars. Raising slogans against the education minister and the state government, they blamed Badal for implementing the repressive policy of the previous government.

Teachers staged dharna on the G.T. Road and in front of the police post near the bus stand.  

Ludhiana, December 29
Trying to tide over protests by teachers’ union over the issue of conducting seminars during the winter holidays, the State education department is now finding new ways to get them to the classes. The department is defending the seminars by pointing out the rules concerned, its necessity and benefits both professional as well as financial.



From Schools
Spring Dale silver jubilee fest 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 29
Spring Dale Senior Secondary Public School organised bhog of Sri Akhand Path Sahib yesterday morning to mark its silver jubilee celebrations.

After the bhog of Sri Akhand Path Sahib, Bir of Sri Guru Granth Sahib was brought to the beautifully-decorated tent. The atmosphere echoed with “Bole So Nihal- Sat Sri Akal.”

The shabad gayan programme was done by Asis Kaur and party. Shabads like “Karat Kail Bhikhey Mail, Chander Soor Mohey” and a religious poem “Suno oh kaisaan valiyoo, Kaisaan Nu Sambhalo” by Bableen told people against cutting their hair in future.

School’s own Dhadi Jatha sang melodious and fabulous dhadi waran. Boys sang waran related to Shahid Udham Singh “Boli Mari Jadon Adwair Ne” and girls sang “Khanda Kitchya Mehtab Singh Surme.”

The ceremony ended with ardas to the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Thereafter schoolchildren presented Gatka.

Rally against foeticide

NSS volunteers of R.S Senior Secondary School, Shastri Nagar, and BCM Arya Model School, Focal Point, jointly organised a rally against female feticide here yesterday. About 100 NSS volunteers took part in the rally and visited a few places in the city. The 10-day NSS camp is being organised under the theme of “Healthy Youth, Healthy India”. The rally passed through R.S.Model School to Kochar Market, Pakhowal Road, Ferozpur Road and Model town.  



Hockey League 
Ramandeep registers easy win 
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, December 29
A brace each by Navjot Singh and Amandeep Singh helped Spring Dale School, Amritsar, to register an easy 7-2 win over Mata Sahib Kaur Academy,Jarkhar, in under-16 year’s match of the Punjab Hockey League for boys being organised by the Punjab Sports Department at the Prithipal Singh Memorial Astroturf Stadium, Punjab Agricultural University, here today. In another match, Spring Dale School piped Malwa Khalsa Senior Secondary School, Ludhiana 3-2.

Spring Dale School went into an early lead when Navjot Singh scored a field goal in the fourth minute. Five minutes later, Jarkhar Academy lads equalised the score through a penalty corner conversion by Prabhpreet Singh.

Spring Dale School again surged ahead in the 16th minute through a field goal scored by Ram Sher Singh. However, Tejinder Pal Singh of Jarkhar levelled the score in the 27th minute (2-all).

In the 31st minute, Kanwar Subheg Singh of Spring Dale School struck to put his team into the lead again. Rupinder Singh made it 4-2 in the 40th minute while Ramandeep Singh found the target six minutes later to consolidate the lead 5-2.

Spring Dale School added two more goals, 52nd minute by Navjot Singh and 55th minute by Ramandeep Singh which saw them wrap up the issue quite easily (7-2).

In the second match of the day, Mata Sahib Kaur Academy, Jarkhar, prevailed over Moga 2-1. The two teams were tied one-all at half time.

Jarkhar Academy drew the first blood in the 15th minute when Hardeep Singh sounded the board and eight minutes later, they squandered away the advantage as Amandeep Singh of Moga found the target to read it one-all. The match winning goal came off Amrit Pal Singh’s stick in the 38th minute.

In another match (under-16), Spring Dale School, Amritsar, squeezed past Malwa Khalsa Senior Secondary School, Ludhiana, 3-2 after leading by one goal (2-1) at the half time.

Ramandeep Singh put Spring Dale ahead in the 6th minute while Akashdeep Singh restored parity for Ludhiana in the 8th minute. Navpreet of Spring Dale School struck in the 28th minute to make it 2-1.

Malwa Khalsa School lads levelled the score in the 43rd minute through Gagandeep Singh (2-2). The important goal for Spring Dale School came off Navjot’s stick in the 54th minute which sealed Malwa School boy’s fate 3-2.

In the fifth match (under-16) of the day, Kurali beat Muktsar 3-1. The winners were leading 1-0 at lemon break.

Taranjeet Singh struck in the 28th minute to put Kurali into the lead and Talwinder Singh increased the lead in the 39th minute while Taranjit pumped in another goal in the 42nd minute to enhance the lead 3-0. Muktsar reduced the margin in the 46th minute through Gurpreet Singh.

In the last match (under-16) of the day, Khalsa Senior Secondary School, Amritsar, defeated Mata Sahib Kaur Academy, Jarkhar, 2-0. Both goals were scored in the second half.

Gurbir Singh opened the account for the winners in the 47th minute and four minutes later, Manpreet Singh sounded the board to help his team to clinch the issue 2-0. 



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