L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Rain, chill force people indoors
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 8
Intermittent drizzle since wee hours of the morning and severe cold wave has disrupted the normal life in the city, forcing people indoors throughout the day. As rain continued at irregular intervals and chilly winds persisted, the mercury dipped significantly. Most of the city roads, as well as major commercial centres across the city remained deserted.

The worst affected with the vagaries of weather were the school children who had to make it to their institutions in the morning and thereafter back home in the afternoon amidst light showers. Daily wagers, street vendors, and particularly the construction labour in different parts of the city were deprived of their earnings due to inclement weather.

Although the change in weather for the worse did not come as a surprise for the slum dwellers, but they had a tough time stopping rain water to seep inside their shanties while at the same time saving themselves from freezing temperature.

There was no relief from the intense cold even for those who chose to keep outdoor as power also played truants with cuts ranging from three to five hours being imposed by the Punjab State Electricity Board during the day due to severe power shortage prevailing in the state.

According to the scientists in the department of agro-meteorology in Punjab Agricultural University here, the cloudy weather and intermittent rain fall was expected to continue for next 24 hours. The temperature was also expected to fall further in the coming days and cold wave was likely to continue.



Ludhiana jail also vulnerable
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
The repeat of Jalandhar jail incident can happen anytime in Ludhiana Central Jail also considering the ratio of guards to the inmates that comes out to be one guard against 16 inmates.

Only 165 guards are posted in the Central Jail here against a capacity of 2,640 convicts and undertrials even as the jail authorities are learnt to have written to the higher authorities for more guards. The request is yet to be heeded by the senior authorities, claim jail sources.

No wonder that the yesterday's incident at Jalandhar Jail was enough to force the jail authorities to be more vigilant, who made a special round of the barracks between 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. yesterday and of the entire jail in the morning today.

The jail authorities revealed that if a protest like yesterday took place in Ludhiana jail also it would be difficult for them to control it.

Not only the number of guards but the smuggling of narcotics and mobile phones gave a tough time to the authorities. Though they claimed that they were vigilant enough not to allow any such things on the premises, reports of smuggling were always received from the jail.

In October last year, the jail authorities had themselves foiled a bid of jail inmates to carry narcotics in a tuber in vegetables. The tuber, carrying 450 narcotic tablets, was gifted to an inmate by a former inmate. The tuber was hollowed from inside, cut into two pieces, tablets filled in and the pieces were glued together. A jail guard was able to catch it.

Earlier, another inmate was being supplied with tablets in a milk can and he was also caught by the guards. Similar reports are received off and on and many times guards cannot foil the bid as inmates keep on discovering new methods to smuggle goods inside the jail.

Sources disclosed that several inmates had an access to mobile phones inside the premises and connivance with the authorities cannot be ruled out. The connivance of the police authorities in providing a mobile to an inmate is also alleged as the police wants to keep a tab on the accomplices of the alleged criminal. Several inmates even make round of their houses in the city when they are taken to courts for a hearing. Outside the Bakshikhana also many inmates are given packets of some substances, including tobacco by their relatives. Drugs can always be supplied to them through this practice.

Deputy superintendent, Central Jail, Ludhiana, S.P. Khanna, said they did not need to beef up the security after the incident as their guards were already vigilant. He added that they had a very strong system so as not to allow any narcotics and other things to be smuggled inside. ‘‘Whenever somebody is caught strict action taken against him under the jail rules.’’



Shingaar Cinema blast: 2 more held
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 8
The local police today arrested the alleged terrorists Gurpreet Singh and Sandip Singh in Shingaar Cinema bomb blast case.

Later, the police got remand of the accused for two days from the court of the magistrate concerned. The police had submitted that they wanted to interrogate the accused for faciliating further investigation.

Meanwhile, the court sent Ravinder Singh alias Rinku arrested in Shingaar Cinema blast case to judicial custody.In RDX recovery cases, Gurpreet Singh, Sandeep Singh and Palwinder Singh alias Pappu were sent to judicial custody. 



Dharna against DAV principal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
The protests against the DAV School principal continued on the second day today with some Congress leaders staging a dharna outside the school and burning his effigy while demanding action against him.

Led by Rajesh Khokhar and Hansraj Gagat, Congress leaders, some persons, including women, raised slogans against the DAV principal R.S. Patyal and set on fire his effigy during the school hours today.

Women belonging to a community alleged that Patyal had passed comments against their community. They said that action should be taken against him for hurting the sentiments. The protesters braved the rain to sit on a dharna for more than an hour.

Meanwhile District Congress Committee chief Jagmohan Sharma today said he shot off letters to CBI demanding an inquiry against Patyal and his son.

Yesterday, he had levelled allegations against Patyal that he was forcing the parents of his students to buy insurance policies from his son.



PAU staff resents decision on pension
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
PAUTA has strongly condemned the state government for giving "step-motherly" treatment to PAU. Anguished over the callous attitude of government representatives during BoM meeting at Chandigarh yesterday, PAUTA called an emergency general body meeting of its members here today to deliberate on the two issues of non-payments of pension to PAU retirees and PAU "land grab" by the state government. There was great anguish and unrest among all faculty members against the so-called 'farmer-friendly' state government.

The transfer of the university land at Bathinda research farm for the construction of cricket stadium is no development and should be immediately reviewed. The faculty pledged support to the cause of pensioners and authorised the PAUTA executive to take appropriate action in order to safeguard the interest of PAU.

The faculty appealed the government to immediately resolve the present crisis in order to prevent any agitation and bitterness against the government. If the state government was not in a position to bear the liability of the institution, they should strongly plead its case for Central University Status with the Central Government



Dhanda assures pensioners

Ludhiana: There is a ray of hope for pensioners of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) as chief parliamentary secretary Harish Rai Dhanda, who honoured 11 special retired employees of PAU at Wheat Auditorium here today, assured them to take up their cause.

Dhanda said the matter of financial crunch in the university was a serious matter and he would take-up the matter with policy makers.

The PAU Employees' Forum, in association with the PAU Employees Federation and the PAU Employees Sewa Dal, under the leadership of D.P. Maur, organised the function to honour 11 PAU retirees, J.L.Narang, Charanjit Singh, Tilak Singh Sangra, Iqbal Singh, Raj .C.Verma, Ujagar Singh, Gurdeep Singh, Niranjan Singh, Sukhdev Singh, Gursewak Singh and Rup Lal Sharma.



Students hold rally against female foeticide
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
Students came out on the roads to generate awareness on the high incidence of female foeticide in the state here today. Slogans like desh ka maan hain betiyan (Daughters are the pride of the nation) filled the air as over a 1,000 schoolchildren marched across the city starting from Arya College for Women.

The students, accompanied by their teachers, carried placards exhorting people to stop female foeticide.

"It is a menace and we want everybody to know that girls are no less than boys. Why a girlchild should not get even a chance to take birth," questioned a student, participating in the rally.

The rally, orgnaised by Adhar Foundation, an NGO, culminated at the District Health Office where a memorandum was submitted to the office.

Among the participants were students from various schools, including Rajindra Model, Nav Bharat, Gupta Modern, Everest Public School, KPRI Institute and many more.



Punjab not investment friendly: NRI
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, January 8
NRI Gurdev Singh from Toranto (Canada), president, North Europe Sikh Temple and director Panorama India, talking to mediapersons at here, said NRIs settled abroad want the development of this country through investment but the state government had failed to provide any facility for investment.

He said the peace in the state was necessary for foreign investment.

Gurdev Singh said he did not see any difference in the government led by former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and the present Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in promoting investment by NRIs in the state.

The state government should think deeply why do the NRIs invest here when instead of concessions they face harassment whereas foreign countries give encou-ragement to entrepreneurs.

Among others Local MLA Sadhu Singh Dharamsot and municipal council chief Jabgmeet Singh Sahota were also present on the occasion. 



Sambar’s carcass
PFA and forest department at loggerheads
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
Thirtysix hours after a sambar breathed its last at PFA hospital in the city, the forest department authorities finally picked its carcass in the morning yesterday after turning a blind eye to the requests of PFA activists since Saturday.

The sambar had strayed in Laddowal and had injured its leg in panic on Friday. It was treated by GADVASU scientists, who amputated its leg. Later it was sent to the PFA hospital on Bahadurke road for recuperation.

The condition of sambar worsened on Saturday evening and it died at 11 pm. Since then the PFA activists had been asking the forest department officials to take the carcass away as the hospital was already sheltering many ailing animals and birds. But all the requests fell on deaf ears.

Ajay Jain, president of the local chapter of PFA, said they kept on contacting the local authorities, who were not available on Saturday evening and throughout Sunday.

They personally went to Mattewara forest office but nobody was present there. Then they informed the chief wildlife warden that a carcass was lying with them and it should be taken into the custody by the department.

‘‘After we contacted him, a ranger called us up and said he would send someone soon. But nobody came throughout the day yesterday. Finally we requested the department again in the morning today and the sambar was lifted at 11 am,’’ said Jain.

He added that it was not for the first time that such a thing had happened. The forest department officials or employees could not be found on public holiday. Even if there was an emergency involving a wild animal also they could not be contacted.

Residents had already cited similar problems in the past also. Jain said if something went wrong with the carcass of the wild animal then it would have been their trouble.



Cancer victim needs help
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 8
About a month back, Shobha, a city resident, was admitted to Christian Medical College and Hospital here with cancer of the right breast, which was in an advanced stage. She was operated upon and her breast was removed.

According to doctors attending on her, Shobha requires further intensive life-saving treatment and medication, which is very expensive. To make the matters worse, the husband of the patient, a labourer and sole bread winner of the family, finding the treatment beyond his means, has deserted his ailing wife and three small children in this difficult time.

Shobha needs financial help from kind-hearted people of the region. All donations or philanthropic financial aid will be appreciated.

All those gracious Samaritans, interested in helping Shobha and her desperate family, can send their donations to the office of the medical superintendent at CMCH. All donations should be made in favour of Christian Medical College and Hospital with "Treatment for Shobha" written on back of the cheque, demand drafts or in the covering letter.



Women’s quota

The approval of women’s 33 per cent reservation bill in Parliament and state assemblies will be a retrograde step, as it will refuel the long-standing issue of implementation of quota in schools, colleges, universities during admissions as also in government, semi-government and private sector units in terms of jobs, etc.

The ruling and opposition parties must stand united and prevent the bill from being passed in parliament, as its implementation will adversely impact the lives of people in general.

Women have been seeking equality with men in all walks of life. Thus, the question of quota should not arise and everything should be based on merit.

Jaigopaal Kusla, 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.



25-year-old shot dead
Tribune News Service

Khanna, January 8
A 25-year-old man was shot dead by a fellow man near Payal, late yesterday evening, after the two got into a scuffle.

According to the information, Sukhwinder Singh, a resident of Bharthala Randhawa village, was shot by Shingara Singh that proved fatal for him and he died on the spot.

The police stated that Sukhwinder Singh was going back home and when he reached the twin-bridges, he met Shingara Singh and the two got into a scuffle.

Police sources said Sukhwinder Singh believed that Shingara Singh, a resident of Mullepur village, had played a role in getting the services of his father terminated. Sukhwinder Singh's father worked in a local brick kiln and was recently fired, the police said. It stated that when Sukhwinder spotted Shingara Singh, he approached him and sought an explanation from him as to why he had got his father dismissed from the service.

As Shingara Singh refused to reply to his queries, Sukhwinder Singh got agitated and confronted Shingara Singh. On this, Shingara Singh took out his revolver and fired one shot in the air to threaten Sukhwinder, who appeared to be unrelenting. As the shot fired by Shingara Singh failed to scare Sukhwinder, he shot another fire at Sukhwinder Singh that lead to his death.

According to the police, Sukhwinder Singh died on the spot. As the matter was reported to the police, a team of police officials reached the spot to take stock of the situation following which a case under the relevant section of the IPC and the Arms Act was registered against Shingara Singh, there was no official conformation of any arrest till the filing of this report.



Record sale of DVD writers

Ludhiana, January 8
LG Electronics India today said that it sold one million DVD writers in the year 2007. According to a company press note, its estimated market share in this segment now stands at 41 per cent. 

The growth, said the company, was 364 per cent over the previous year. Company officials said they had set a target to double the volumes this year. — TNS



PAU signs MoU with US varsity
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
An eight-member inter-disciplinary scientific delegation from Kansas State University, led by Dr Fred Cholick, dean and director, College of Agriculture and K. State Research and Extension, Manhattan, visited Punjab Agricultural University for two days.

The other members of the delegation included Dr Curtis L. Kastner, director, Food Science Institute, Dr Gary A. Clark, head, biological and agricultural engineering, Dr Freddie Ray Lamm, professor and research irrigation engineer, Dr Bhadriraju Subramanyam, professor, grain science and industry, and Dr Barry Michie, assistant professor, international programmes.

The delegation met the PAU VC, Dr Manjit Singh Kang, and deans and directors, additional directors, coordinators of research and heads of departments and discussed collaborative efforts with respect to agricultural research, training and curriculum development in the areas of food processing technology, biotechnology, water and environment resources, irrigation technology, quality preservation of grain and grain-based foods, etc.

Welcoming the members of the delegation, Dr Kang said the university had already entered into MoUs with a number of foreign universities and that a tie-up with Kansas State University would be mutually beneficial for both the institutes. He said PAU had got the facility of distance learning in collaboration with Iowa state university.

Dr N.S. Malhi, director of research, elaborated on the state of agricultural research at PAU and the future research needs. He identified some areas of research and transfer of technology for which a collaborative arrangement with Kansas State University can be worthwhile, he said. Dr K. Mann, dean, postgraduate studies, highlighted the areas of curriculum development.

An MoU was signed by PAU and Kansas State University for cooperation in research, teaching and extension education in the areas of natural resource management and food sciences. The signatories were Dr Fred Cholick and Dr M.S. Kang. With the signing of this MoU, both the universities have come to an understanding to promote teaching and research in the areas of natural resource management (irrigation and water management, watershed modelling, best management practices, precision agriculture technologies, ecological engineering for urban environments, air quality, bio-based energy, biotechnology and genetically modified plants), food sciences/food systems (food safety, extrusion, food security, post-harvest grain quality preservation, food laws and regulations, sanitation, hazard analysis and management of food industry pests), and distance education (international programmes, exchange of faculty and students). 



Training course on dairy farming from Jan14
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 8
The department of veterinary and animal husbandry extension, College of Veterinary Science, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary & Animal Sciences University (Gadvasu) will organise a “Specialised training course on dairy farming” from January 14-25.

The course is open to farmers of Punjab.

Fodder preservation methods like Silage and Hay making will be demonstrated to them. Farmers will also be trained to differentiate between healthy and sick animals, vaccination and deworming schedules and the importance of hygiene in prevention of diseases will be specially emphasised. Tips on detection of heat, timely artificial insemination and care of pregnant and new-born animals will be given to the farmers.

Special emphasis will be given on reproduction, which tells upon the production of animals. A field visit to the dairy farm will also be undertaken and hands on training will be given for basic handling of animal, correct method of milking, acaricide drug application and first aid management.



Canadian MP Case
Snatchers sent to Juvenile Home
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 8
Bindia and Sachin, the juvenile snatchers, who had been booked under Section 380, IPC, for allegedly stealing the purse belonging to Dr Ruby Dhalla, Canadian MP, at Pohir village yesterday, were sent to Juvenile Home at Simlapuri by a court at Ludhiana today.

Meanwhile, the police has launched a search for the kingpin of the gang that had been exploiting innocent children to snatch bags from venues of social and religious functions in the area.

The police was directed to present documents regarding the case in the court on January 21.

Sukhdev Singh Liddar, a Canadian NRI, had accused the children of snatching the bag of Dr Dhalla from the venue of a felicitation function at Pohir yesterday. The suspects were apprehended by a guest after a brief chase and the purse was found concealed in a polythene bag.

According to Prem Singh, SHO Dehlon, the juveniles, of an unknown background, seemed to be acting on behest of an organised gang of snatchers. The adult members of the gang did not come forward to vouch for the suspects for obvious reasons of being identified by the police.

“However, we have deputed our personnel to search for their parents so that the kingpin of the gang is arrested,” said the SHO.



City Centre Scam: Court reserves orders on bail applications
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, January 8
The court of sessions judge G K Rai yesterday reserved the orders on the anticipatory bail applications filed by six ex-trustees of Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) in the much talked about City Centre Scam, for January 9.

Interestingly one of the former trustees, Kala Navkar Jain, seeking anticipatory bail was present in the court room, during the arguments on the bail application. However, after advised by some of his well wishers, he left the court room after half an hour.

Jain, Sanjay Talwar, Surinderpal Singh Bindra, Malkiat Kaur, Bhupinder Singh Basant and Vijay Kumar Parti, all former trustees of the dissolved LIT, had filed a bail application, after being summoned by the court to face the trial. They were challaned by the VB in this case.

Why these former trustees were not arrested by the VB, if at all they were guilty, stressed the counsel of trustees in court while arguing the bail application. He said it does not lie in the mouth of prosecution that these former trustees were party to offence, as they themselves had submitted in writing before the Supreme Court of India that trustees were 'kept in dark' by Sibia during the passing of the city centre project.

He handed over the copy of SLP filed against the order of granting anticipatory bail to Captain Amarinder Singh before the Supreme Court, in which these submissions were made by VB. As per prosecution, the accused signed resolutions. So, it becomes a case of documentary evidence. All these documents were already in the possession of the prosecution, he further added.

However, the prosecution strongly opposed the grant of bail to former trustees. Advancing arguments for more than one hour, District Attorney Mitter Sain Goel pleaded that these former trustees had connived with the former Chairman, Paramjit Singh Sibia, now proclaimed offender.

He accused them of accepting Rs 1 lakh each on the occasion of Diwali from Today Homes company officials, in the presence of an employee of the trust, now a VB witness.

Goel also stressed that the financial bids were opened against state government senior officer instructions and later a letter of intent was issued to Today Homes Compnay in the presence of accused Surinderpal Singh Bindra, Navkar Jain, Bhupinder Basant and Sanjay Talwar.

The agreement was signed by then chairman, Sibia and Bindra (ex-trustee). All these were also party in passing the resolution dated August 30, 2005, vide which the previous illegal act was vetted and the same was sent to the state government.

The district attorney was assisted by four additional public prosecutors, M L Solanki, Sukchain Singh, Ajit Singh Sidhu and Jagir Singh, during arguments. SSP Vigilance Bureau, Kanwarjeet Sandhu, and SP Sandeep Goel were also present during the hearing. 



4 more move bail pleas
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 8
Taking congnisance of the regular bail applications filed by Today Homes company's vice-president, Vinay Subhiki and general manager Sunil Sharma, the sessions judge G K Rai issued notice to the Vigilance Bureau for Janauary 10.

Justice Mahesh Grover of Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed these accused to move the trial court for regular bail. In its order passed yesterday, the High Court directed the sessions judge to decide their bail applications within three days.

Even if their bail applications were declined, then they would not be arrested as per High Court order.

Meanwhile, two more accused in the City Centre Scam, Davinder Kumar Anand and Ashok Chopra had moved anticipatory bail applications.

Their bail applications would come up for hearing tomorrow. 



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