L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

‘Spit-fire’ feat claims youth’s life
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 31
Performing a “spit-fire” feat during a nagar kirtan claimed the life of an 18-year-old youth who died last night after fighting severe burns at the DMCH.

Simranjot Singh, who was known for his feat of spitting fire, usually performed at religious functions by spitting kerosene, had sustained burns on January 26 during a nagar kirtan to mark the birth anniversary of Baba Deep Singh. His polyester clothes caught fire when the kerosene fell on it due to the wind. He was rushed to the DMCH. He suffered 60 per cent burns.

“He was a very loving child. He would do so every time during a kirtan as he had a strong faith in God. But destiny had to snatch him away from us,” said his father, Varinder Singh, who runs a grocery store.

Varinder Singh said he had a message for people who performed these acts. “Think twice before doing it. I do not want another father to lose his son. I am the most unfortunate man to have lost him within a few minutes,” he said. People close to the family said Simranjot had ignored certain guidelines while performing the feat. He was wearing a terrycot shirt.

“I wish he had worn a cotton shirt instead of a synthetic one. We would not have lost him. He was very careful everytime but I do not know why did he do so this time. He died doing the feat he loved the most. It is only for us to face this tragedy,” one of his friends said.



Going, but only for now
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 31
The anti-encroachment drive of the tehbazaari department is proving to be an exercise in futility as encroachments come back soon after the squad leaves.

If the encroachers allow the squad to remove the encroachments, these come back a few moments after the removal. The encroachers get back the confiscated goods on “superdari” after some days.

Sometimes, political interference mars the implementation of the law. Yesterday, a councillor, Gurpreet Singh Gogi, did not allow the squad to remove the encroachments by shopkeepers in the Ghumar Mandi area.

The team came back giving two days’ time to traders to clear the road themselves.

Two days ago, unidentified employees of the department were booked by the police for causing death due to negligence of a shopkeeper, Inderjeet Arora, in the Janakpuri area.

The man fell unconscious in the middle of the road when the squad removed his encroachment. He was taken to a hospital where he was declared brought dead.

The police has now written to the MC to identify employees who would be booked for the death of Arora. ‘‘Though we face the anger of residents on the roads, we are also facing trial in the case for no fault of ours,’’ said an official on the condition of anonymity.



6 get life term in double murder case
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, January 31
The court of the additional sessions judge, MS Virdi, has sentenced six persons to rigorous life imprisonment on the charges of killing Harbhajan Singh of Bhaini Gujra village and Albel Singh of Sunet village in June 1997.

Those convicted include Lal Singh, his son Paramjit Singh, son-in-law Satnam Singh, Gajjan Singh, Sardara Singh and Gurdip Singh of Sidhwan Bet. They were also ordered to pay a fine of Rs 22,000 each.

Delivering the verdict, the judge held that the prosecution had successfully proved the charges levelled against the accused beyond any reasonable shadow of doubt. He turned down the plea of leniency raised by the accused.

According to the prosecution, the incident occured following conflict of possession over the land between the parties. Some civil cases were also pending between them.

An FIR was registered against the accused following the complaint of Gurcharan Singh of Bhaini Gujra village, Sidhwan Bet.

The complainant had stated before the court that he and Albel Singh had a joint land measuring over 6 kilas at Ghunewal Bhaini Gujra village. The land was purchased from Bahal Singh, lambardar, and they were in possession of it since 1995.

A tent had been pitched on the land as temporary accommodation.

On June 7, 1997, at about 7 pm, the accused armed with sticks and “belchas” attacked Albel Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Chamkaur Singh and Ravail Singh, who used to live in the tent. They also put the tent on fire.

He raised the alarm and with the help of some persons, the injured were taken to the Civil Hospital at Jagraon but two of the injured died.

However, the accused pleaded innocence and claimed false implication. It was pleaded that actually the complainant party had attacked and even killed Swaran Singh. But the judge disagreed with their contentions and held that the circumstances did not reveal whether Swaran Singh died in the same incident.

Also, the police had not registered any FIR and no inujuries were found on the body of the accused.



Construction on commercial building halted
Town planner to probe charges
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 31
The MC today stopped the construction of a commercial complex in Gobind Nagar that was threatening a three-storeyed building.

Senior town planner, Balkar Singh Brar, said he had directed his field staff not to allow construction until further orders.

Commissioner Vikas Partap had ordered an inquiry into the construction of the commercial complex this morning. He had directed Brar to look into the matter and give a report.

Brar said the inquiry revealed that the new complex was owned by an astrologer, Baldev Raj Verma. He had got the plan approved from the MC and had attached a no-objection certificate from the owner of the building, D.P. Singh, that the latter had no problem with the construction.

“Later they fought over some issue and now D.P. Singh has complained. We are looking into the matter and we would not allow construction. I am preparing a detailed report in this matter,” said Brar.

D.P. Singh, however, said nobody had come to his house from the MC. He denied having given an NOC to Verma. “I am surprised how he has submitted an NOC signed by me. I have not signed on any such paper. In fact, I did not know that my neighbour was constructing the complex just next to my wall,” he said, demanding that the NOC should be tested by a forensic expert.



Farmer donates Rs 2 lakh to PAU
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 31
A Doraha-based progressive farmer, Surjit Singh Dhillon, has donated Rs 2 lakh as an endowment fund for starting an award for progressive growers excelling in farming on the occasion of kisan mela.

He appreciated the pro-farmer programmes of the PAU and was motivated by PAU scientists to opt for innovative farming operations.

The PAU vice-chancellor, Dr Manjit Singh Kang, said this would inspire others to excel in farming.

Dr NS Malhi, director of extension education, said the contributions of Dhillon were well recognised as he had already been given Dalip Singh Dhaliwal Award by the PAU. Dhillon was well known for using a single bullock to carry out diverse farm operations in a small holding of around five acres.



Fight For Justice
Migrant couple, kids stage dharna outside DC’s office
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 31
With no government authority being able to deliver them justice, a migrant couple, Raj Nath and Sumitra Devi, and their five children today sat on a dharna in front of the office of the deputy commissioner, seeking an end to their harassment.

They were carrying a banner with the names of an Akali leader who was allegedly harassing them.

While no government official came out to help them, Congress leader Parminder Mehta took Raj Nath to some police and civil officials, who promised them another inquiry.

Raj Nath returned to the dharna site and vowed to continue his peaceful pursuit for justice. “I want all rights over the plot which I had bought. What kind of government is this which does not provide security and right to peaceful living to a common man like me?” he asked visiting mediapersons.

The Tribune has been highlighting his case for over two years, exposing how despite all legal documents and police inquiries, the couple was not able to live peacefully on the plot.

They have lost most of their savings and are finding it hard to run a kiryana shop.

A police official, wishing not to be quoted, had told The Tribune earlier that there was “immense pressure from an Akali minister” regarding the case.

The police had booked two accused on the basis of an inquiry conducted by the ADGP, internal vigilance, in the case. One of them has been arrested.



City Centre Scam
Hearing on bail today
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 31
Anticipatory bail application moved by Sunita Gambir, N. Gambhir, Yeshu Gambhir, Vikram Gambhir, family members of managing director of Today Homes Company G.K. Gambhir in the City Centre Scam, would come up for hearing before the Sessions Court on Friday.

On January 22, they had moved the bail applications. Taking cognisance of their applications, the Sessions Judge G.K. Rai had issued notice to the vigilance bureau for February 1. They were summoned by the court to face trial, after filing of the chargesheet by the vigilance bureau against them.

The Sessions Judge adjourned the hearing on the regular bail applications filed by Anil Narula, Arun Nayyar and Sanjay Jetwani stated to be directors of Today Homes Company for tomorrow.



Dairy owner attacked, robbed
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 31
A gang of robbers took away cash and valuables from the owner of dairy at Rangian village after injuring him with crude weapons at a deserted place near Brahamanmajra village, near here, last night.

The police has launched a manhunt for the robbers after registering a case under Section 394 of the IPC.

Meanwhile, office-bearers of various constitutional and trade organisations, taking a note of incidents of snatching, have urged higher officials to intensify security in the area.

The robbers armed with rods and swords snatched valuables and cash from Lakhwinder Singh of Rangian village after injuring him when he was returning home last night.



Beware of gold tricksters
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 31
The city residents would have to be cautious about the activities of a gang of tricksters, who lure “gullible” customers claiming that they were selling real gold found at a recent digging in Uttar Pradesh or any other state.

Two years ago, a number of city traders were fleeced by the similar gang, which claimed that they had found pot full of gold from a mound in Rajasthan. And they offered to sell it at half the market price to avoid any trouble with the government by its open sale.

The gang, which is claiming to have found similar pot full of gold from Palwal near Delhi, was alluring many city residents by making phone calls and offering the gold at again half the market rate.

Mohan Kumar, a hosiery trader told Ludhiana Tribune that he had been receiving calls from one of such tricksters, who claimed they knew that he could afford spending money on gold.

The caller, who identified himself as Pappu Kumar said the gold was pure and could give a sample for verification. However, he insisted, he would come to Ludhiana with the gold and the trader had to come there.

Mohan discussed the matter with some friends, who informed them about the past experiences of some traders, who lost lakhs of rupees. They were either robbed of valuables or given gold plated metal worth few thousands of rupees only.

SSP R.K. Jaiswal said city residents should not fall into the trap laid by these swindlers, “These gangsters never come to the city. Further, if they have gold they could easily sell it in that village or near that place.”

He said the gangsters kept changing their locations and phone numbers, but the police could trace them if a complaint was made.



Employees get PF on retirement day
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 31
Five employees of Verka and Hero Industries today got a surprise gift on their retirement when officials of the Employees Provident Fund Organisation handed them cheques of their provident fund.

This was in contrast to the general practice where employees of both private and government organisations are forced to wait for months and even suffer harassment to get their own money back.

S.K. Aggarwal, regional PF commissioner-I, said they were keen to deliver cheques and pension payment orders on the day of retirement if the employees filed papers at least 20 days before retirement.

A member of the Central Board of Trustees (CBT), Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), V.P. Chopra, handed over the cheques and pension payment orders to Dhani Ram and Ram Asra.

B.S. Gosain, regional provident fund commissioner (finance & administration), general manager (HR), Hero Cycles Ltd, Ludhiana, handed over the cheques to Shiv Pujan, Ram and Ghanaur Paswan.

Gosain said, “As a policy matter, we are trying to give cheques to employees on the day of retirement as the money is required the most at this juncture of life.”



‘Gas agencies harassing consumers’
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 31
Accusing local gas agency’s owners of harassing consumers by selling cylinders at a premium price, some consumers have urged the civil authorities to initiate action against the agency owners and direct food supply officials to monitor distribution of refills to streamline the supply.

Jai Pal Singh, owner of the agency, denying the charges, claimed that refills were being supplied on first come first basis. Terming the scarcity as temporary, he claimed that the situation would improve soon.

In a communication addressed to higher authorities, including deputy commissioner Sangrur, a group of consumers led by Rajinder Bhardwaj of Galla Mandi accused lone gas agency owners of allegedly black-marketing the commodity. They alleged that the staff at the agency office had been harassing the consumers on one pretext or the other.

“While it is right to get the delivery at address mentioned in the registration book, the staff calls us to the office for getting the refill booked. In absence of a transparent system of the booking they usually issue delivery memos to owners of commercial organisations, obviously by charging an extra amount,” alleged Bhardwaj. He added that he was not supplied a refill, as he had refused to pay the premium.



GLADA elects office-bearers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 31
The following have been elected office-bearers of the Supervisor Union of Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority: Balihar Singh -- president; Amarjit Singh -- general secretary; Madan Lal -- treasurer; Parkash Singh -- senior vice-president; Nacchattar Singh -- vice-president; Jagir Singh --vice-president; Sain Singh -- vice-president; Gurcharan Singh -- assistant secretary; Bikramjit Singh -- assistant secretary; Harbhajan Singh -- propaganda secretary; and Swaran Singh and Manohar Singh -- assistant treasurers.



Agriculture dept to purchase literature from PAU
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 31
The farm literature brought out by the PAU is in great demand among the farming community not only of Punjab, but also of other states. The department of agriculture, Punjab, has made a plan to popularise farm literature of the PAU among subject matter specialists and farmers of the state under the national food security mission.

In a communication received from the director of agriculture, Punjab, the package of practices for rabi crops will be purchased through the chief agricultural officers of various districts, including Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Bathinda, Ferozepur and Sangrur for distribution among seed producer farmers.

The PAU has received a purchase order for as many as 37,000 copies. According to Dr Gurdial Singh, joint director of agriculture, Punjab, the package will be given to farmers involved in seed production of different crops.



Ectopia-2008 kicks off at DMCH
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 31
The three-day annual cultural programme Ectopia-“2008” began at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) here today. During the three-day festival, undergraduate medical students would compete for top honours in various talent hunt competitions.

The function commenced with an impressive inauguration ceremony. It was presided over by the secretary of DMCH managing society Prem Kumar Gupta, principal Dr Daljit Singh, vice principal Dr J. Whig, medical superintendents Dr Sandeep Puri and Dr Rajoo Singh Chinna, Dr B.S.Shah, members of DMC cultural committee, and other faculty members. While declaring the meet open, Daljit Singh applauded the efforts of the students and the staff for organising the programme. Prem Kumar Gupta released the mascot of the function - “Nino-a butterfly”, which symbolised freedom, fun and joyous times.

The chief guest, members of DMC cultural committee and faculty members were presented with a copy of the official newsletter ‘Ectopia Times’, which showcased the events to be organised during the cultural bonanza and interesting facts about the faculty and students.

The function opened with ‘vande mataram’ and shabad ‘deh Shiva bar mohe’ followed by scheduled cultural events for the day, which included “milte hain break ke baad” (ad fads), “bindaas bol” (debate-Hindi/Punjabi) and “mind grill” (quiz). The evening session of day one included “taal mel” (group song) and “loose control” (solo dance-boys and girls). Main attraction of the day was a competition on “ad fads” in which the students had to conceptualise and enact an advertisement based on a humorous concept. The presentations “dadagiri biscuits” and chokri.com” drew a lot of applause.

Following were the results:

Pre-Ectopia events:

Painting: 1. Anita (batch 2007), 2. Gurkirat (batch 2003), 3. Kamalpreet Kaur (batch 2006) and Harmeet (batch 2005).

Sketching: 1. Gurkirat (batch 2003), 2. Neha (batch 2005) and Pavneet (batch 2007), 3. Sandeep (batch 2005)

Collage Making: 1. Batch 2004, 2. Batch 2003, 3. Batch 2003

Day 1 events:

Ad Fads: 1. Batch 2004, 2. Batch 2004, 3. Batch 2005 and Batch 2006.

Debate: 1. Suhasini (batch 2005), 2. Shazia (batch 2006), 3. Pawani (batch 2003)

Mind Grill (quiz): 1. Team of Divyanshu and Sameer (batch 2004), 2. Batch 2003, 3. Batch 2007.



Radiance-2008 begins at KIMT
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 31
The cultural fiesta “Radiance- 2008” kicked off at Khalsa Institute of Management & Technology for Women, Civil Lines, today.

Harish Rai Dhanda, chief parliamentary secretary, government of Punjab, and Vijay Rai Dhanda graced the occasion as the chief guests.

The function was inaugurated with the lighting of the traditional lamp by the chief guest. The welcome song and shabad by MBA and BCA students marked the start of the function followed by the director’s address highlighting the achievements of the KIMT during the year.

Director Dr Vijay Asdhir apprised the audience about the various activities of the Institute.

The highlight of the programme was dance to the tune, rangoli, mehndi, collage making, pakhi decoration, creative writing and declamation, quiz and solo song.

Adding glitter to the function, “western dance” was performed by students of MCA and BCA.

Dhanda said being the part of the function was a pleasant and unforgettable experience.

He appreciated the efforts of institute in shouldering the responsibility of holistic growth of the students. The function was concluded by MBA, MCA and BCA students by performing folk dance item “Giddha”.

P.P.S Grewal, Dr.S.S Grewal, S.S Deol and Gurdish Singh Grewal graced the occasion along with other dignitaries. Dr. R.S Gupta, dean, academics presented vote of thanks.



Scientists from Australia, China visit PAU
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 31
A team comprising 14 scientists from Australia and China led by Dr Phil Salisbury, Australian Canola programme leader, visited the PAU today to see the collaborative research experiments on rapeseed and mustard under the “Oilseeds brassica improvement in China, India and Australia” project financed by the Australian centre for international agriculture research.

The project aims at exchange and evaluation of rapeseed-mustard germplasm in the three participating countries.

Besides germplasm evaluation, the project envisages attacking critical problems like adverse response of rapeseed-mustard germplasm to high temperature, stress during seedling/terminal stage, drought and white rust.

The project has benefited the performances of scientists in the PAU through exchange of visits to centres of advanced studies in Australia and China.



Dean of PAU retires
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 31
Dr Gulzar Singh Chahal, dean of the College of Agriculture, retired after attaining the age of superannuation. A farewell function was organised to honour him at the committee room of the VC today.



Poor eating habits cause tooth decay
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 31
Baba Jaswant Singh Dental College and Hospital organised a free dental check up and awareness camp at Gurdwara Bhaini Sahib on Chandigarh Road, about 20 km from here yesterday.

Residents of Bhaini Sahib and several other surrounding villages availed benefits of the comprehensive dental check up extended by a team of senior dental surgeons headed by Dr Pawan Arora, professor and head, department of community dentistry. Dr Ashish Kumar and Dr Hardeep Singh co-ordinated the camp activities.

The doctors explained that eating patterns and food choices among children and teens were important factors that often led to development of tooth decay among the youngsters.

“When bacteria (plaque) comes into contact with sugar in the mouth, acid is produced, which attacks the teeth for 20 minutes or more. This can eventually result in tooth decay. To help control the amount of sugar one consumes, read food labels and choose foods and beverages that are low in added sugars. Added sugars often are present in soft drinks, candy, cookies and pastries,” the doctors said.

The team of dental surgeons and paramedical staff provided comprehensive diagnosis and basic scaling treatment with the aid of mobile dental van, equipped with latest diagnostic and therapeutic facilities. Every patient was given a “patient card”, which comprised a report summary of the diagnosed problem and the recommended treatment plan. Free medicines for various dental problems were also distributed to the patients.



City radiologist felicitated
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 31
Dr Priyanka Singh, senior consultant in radio-diagnosis at Mohan Dai Oswal Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation, was felicitated during the annual national conference of the Indian Radiological and Imaging Association in Bangalore.

She was awarded with the prestigious V.P. Lakhanpal gold medal for excellence in radiology.



Winners of National School Games felicitated
Our Correspondent

Winners of National School Games with their trophies at Latala.
Winners of National School Games with their trophies at Latala. — Photo Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 31
Proud winners of National School Kabbadi games, Manjit Kaur, Kirandeep Kaur and Sukhpreet Kaur of Shaheed Kartar Singh Dukki Government Senior Secondary School, Latala, were felicitated at a function organised on the school premises yesterday. Harpreet Singh Garcha, member SGPC, was the chief guest of the function.

Terming sportsmanship as the prerequisite for leadership quality, Garcha called upon students of the school to adopt game spirit as a lifestyle element.

“Observations have revealed that rural students have been provided adequate facilities for exhibiting their talent. We will take up the issue with the state government so that schools in rural areas can contribute more in state and national pools,” said Garcha. He presented mementoes to national winners and other outstanding students.

Krishna Sharda, principal, said Manjit Kaur (U- 17), Kirandeep Kaur (U-19) and Sukhpreet Kaur (U 16) had represented state in national kabaddi championship held in Mumydada (AP), Jaipur (Rajasthan) and Delhi recently. While Kirandeep and Sukhpreet Kaur bagged the first position, Sukhpreet got third prize. Sixteen other students were felicitated for achieving honourable positions in national and state level sports.

Budh Singh, kabaddi coach, Jagtar Singh Latala and Capt Nachhatar Singh were present on the occasion.



Cricket trials tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 31
The Association for Twenty20 Cricket, Punjab, will be conducting trails to select probables for the forthcoming 1st under-19 National Twenty20 Cricket Championship, on February 2 at 11.30 am at Paragon Senior Secondary School, Sector 71, here.



Central excise offices shifted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 31
Offices of the assistant commissioner, central excise, all ranges, have been shifted from Dandi Swami Chowk and New Prem Nagar to Savitri Complex, near Dholewal Chowk here.

Commissioner central excise A.K. Mehra today said the offices in the new building would start functioning from tomorrow.

“The new offices would be easily accessible to assessees, a majority of who are in the Focal Point and industrial areas. The offices have been given a corporate look and are equipped with the latest facilities, including broadband Internet connection,” he added.



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