L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

City Centre Scam
4 of Gambhir’s kin get bail
Three others not so lucky
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, Feburary 1
Four members of Today Homes Company's MD, GK Gambhir’s family got anticipatory bail in the City Centre scam here today. The sessions court granted anticipatory bail to his wife, daughter, niece and nephew.

Granting the bail, the sessions judge ordered the accused to “surrender” before the court and furnish surety bonds to the tune of Rs 5 lakh each.

He held in his order that if the accused failed to surrender on or before Feburary 13, the order shall be vacated automatically. These persons were neither arrested by the vigilance bureau nor were they ever summoned to join the investigation.

Their names had first appeared in the chargesheet filed by the bureau before the sessions court.

Thereafter, the court had issued summons directing them to appear before the court for facing trial. But apprehending arrest, these persons had moved anticipatory bail applications.

A battery of lawyers representing them had stressed that there was not an iota of evidence against them and they were not even named in the FIR.

This time, none of the senior official of the bureau was present during the hearing.

The court dismissed the regular bail applications filed by Anil Narula, Sanjay Jetwani and Arun Nayyar, stated to be directors of the company. Earlier, they had moved to Punjab and Haryana High Court for anticipatory bail. Staying their arrest for a week, the HC had directed them to move a regular bail before the trial court.

They said they would move the HC again. 



Asset notice leaves cops anxious
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
A massive exercise is on in the city to find out details of the property, including vehicles and mobile phones, owned by police post in charges and their relatives and the manner in which these were owned.

Only the heads of 31 police posts have been given a form in this regard. The rider disturbing them is that they could be later hauled up for providing wrong information or not disclosing complete assets.

The details are being sought amid the general impression that police personnel had amassed wealth beyond their known sources of income. There have been reports that police officials owned property worth crores. These officials are not necessarily police post heads.

Sources revealed police post heads of the sub-inspector and ASI rank have been specially told to give details at the directions of the SSP, R K Jaiswal.

They said this section of officials was flooding seniors with references for posting due to which irked officials decided to find out how they had such links.

It is after seven years that such a process has been initiated in the city. Earlier, the then SSP, Harpreet Sidhu, had carried out a detailed exercise.

The cops have to tell how they got the property; the rates at which they bought land and the present market rate.

They have also been told to provide details of their mobile phones, including the numbers. They have to give details of the mobile phones used by their family members.

This query holds significance as police officials are often seen carrying two or even three mobile phones.

They have also been told to furnish details of bank accounts held by them and their family members.

They also have to reveal their annual income.



10-yr-old helps nab robbers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
A heroic act by a 10-year-old boy led the police to nab a gang of robbers who had looted valuables worth lakhs from the house of a Shimla Puri resident on January 25.

Suraj had smashed the windowpane of a car with his bat and noted the number when the accused were fleeing after looting his house. The robbers abandoned the car later, but were traced from the vehicle number.

SPs Sukh Chain Singh and Jagjit Singh Randhawa said the four robbers had been nabbed. They had been identified as Amit Kumar, Satwant, Joginder and Swaran Singh.

In another incident, a man kidnapped from Dugri three days ago for a ransom of Rs 5 lakh has been found. Three alleged kidnappers -- Vijay, Baldev and Harpreet --have been arrested.

They accused had a monetary dispute with the victim Sikander who had returned from Malaysia recently. They picked him at gunpoint from near the Dugri bridge and kept him in illegal confinement in Nawanshahr. He was beaten up also.

A police team working on a plan sent a person with the ransom, but swooped on the kidnappers and nabbed them.



PSEB staff, farmers oppose privatisation
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 1
Activists of Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) trade unions, over dozen farmer organisations and board workers today demonstrated at the office of the chief engineer against privatisation.

Later, the protesters marched to the mini secretariate and presented a memorandum to the district administration for the chief minister.

Speakers urged the government to take cue from the Kerala and Tamil Nadu governments that had refused to implement the Act in their states.

They also asked the government to scrap the move to privatise the board and reject in principle the policy of handing over public sector undertakings to private players.

The trade union activists also deplored the privatisation of essential services like health, transport and education in the state, while urging organisations and parties to intensify the stir against anti-people policies.

They condemned the imposition of toll tax on newly constructed roads, bridges and flyovers.

Other demands included end to victimisation of board employees, stoppage of outsourcing of routine work, spot billing through contractual workers and continuation of subsidies to farmers and those from economically weaker sections of society.



Youngsters short on sleep 
Kuldip Bhatia

What to do?
Establish a bed time and make it a habit.
Promote a healthy lifestyle.
Forgo caffeine and midnight snack.
Turn off electronic gadgets.
Help your children with time management skills.

Ludhiana, February 1
Teenagers are damaging their health 
by not getting enough sleep because they are distracted by electronic gadgets like TV, music system and mobile phones in their bedrooms.

This conclusion was drawn from a survey conducted on around 300 teenagers in the city by Dr Akashdeep Singh, a senior consultant for respiratory and sleep disorders at the CMCH.

According to him, disturbed sleep pattern or junk sleep could rival the consumption of unhealthy junk food as a major lifestyle issue for parents of teenagers.

The survey found that youngsters aged 12 to 16 years were managing with just four to six hours of sleep as against the recommended sleep duration of eight or nine hours.

Almost 28 per cent said they fell asleep more than once a week while watching TV or using electronic gadgets. “This is a worrying trend,” he says.

“What we are seeing is the emergence of junk sleep, the sleep that is of neither the length nor quality that it should be in order to feed the brain with the rest it needs to perform properly in school,” he says.

Nearly all teenagers in the sample population had a phone, music system or TV in the bedroom, with around two-thirds having all three.

The survey also found that 35 per cent of youngsters felt tired during the day, obviously due to inadequate sleep.

“Children who sleep little are at double the risk to start smoking or taking alcohol and drugs. Not getting enough sleep can also cause serious cardiovascular diseases and weight problems,” the survey said.

Before going to bed, a child should not be exposed to bright illumination, but in the morning, the room should be filled with bright light.

An hour before sleep, it was desirable to avoid reading serious literature, planning tasks, playing computer games and TV as it “unsettled” the brain.



Police refuses to exhume ‘skeleton’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
Mystery shrouds the recovery of a skeleton from near the Mata Rani chowk during the sinking of a tubewell late last evening.

While mediapersons have pictures of the skull, the police said no one had made any complaint. The police said a police official inquired into the incident, but no such recovery has been reported.

Mediapersons, who had reached the spot, had, however, seen the skull with the lower part of the skeleton buried.

The diggers had spotted the skeleton and had taken the skull out. Work was stopped for some time after some persons reportedly told them to hurriedly bury it.

Area residents said a 50-year-old building stood there once where the digging was taking place.

Instead of exhuming the skeleton for examination, the police was waiting for a complaint.

Nirmal Singh, SHO, said no one had confessed to have seen the skeleton other than the mediapersons.

“The officials or labourers doing the digging work should have informed the police. What can we do now?” he asked, rejecting the argument that the skeleton could be dug out.



Parbina Rashid

TIME has stood still for Gurdas Maan. Even now when he does his typical jhatkas, matching step for step with young boys in Boot Polishan or romances Bhumika Chawla in Taare Gawah Ne, the numero uno star of Punjabi entertainment industry does not look out of place, on screen or off. 

It was not surprising that the press interaction, which took place in Chandigarh, opened with the question, rather a comment, on his looks. But what surprised us was his answer — “No long hours spent in gym or organic food, but the love and ashirwaad of people,” he said.

But then again, this is Gurdas Maan, the simple, humble Dil Da Mamla guy, who makes a simple press conference an interesting affair, sometime with crisp, honest one-liners or sometimes with long philosophical verses borrowed or self-created. Thursday’s mood was inclined towards philosophical, maybe to create the right ambience for the promotion of his latest album Boot Polishan that comes with an underlying message — dignity of labour.

So as we watch the videos of four songs from his Sony BMG’s first Punjabi album that has already sold 2 lakh copies within three weeks of its release, he picks up lines and verses from different songs to entertain us. “My favourite is Cycle because the phase of my life when I used to ride a cycle is very dear to me,” he tells us. Where does he draw inspiration from, we ask. “I do not think at all. I write whatever comes to me. In fact, most of my songs are crazy,” comes his reply. “In fact, when I write or sing, I don’t bother if it is going to be suitable for parties, discs or DJs. I just do my bit, rest is for the public to decide,” he adds.

Ask him to comment on the present fusion-confusion in Punjabi music, one-album singers and mushrooming studios where money is equivalent to talent or the talk on imposing a ban on double meaning songs, he goes all philosophical again — “Sab waqt ki chaal hai. What can I say? Changes are inevitable and only when there are bad things around, one knows the value of the good.” And, as his answers, from this point, starts to dwell on the philosophy of ‘changes with time’, we realise it’s time for us to leave the singer to the distributors and enjoy his songs instead.



Cold Break
No exemption for primary teachers 
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
Government elementary school teachers are idle these days. Reason: Punjab government’s announcement that primary schools would be closed for one week due to the intense cold wave in the region. However, teachers have been asked to attend school as usual.

Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had yesterday announced holidays for a week for children from class I to V. But the teachers were not given any leave and the community has expressed its displeasure at the decision.

"Authorities should not have exempted students from attending classes, especially at a crucial time when class five board exams are round the corner," said an elementary school teacher on conditions of anonymity. Another teacher gave vent to his feelings, "We are left with no work at all, government should have assigned some work to us before announcing holidays for children. It is like some kind of punishment. What are we supposed to do in schools with no children to teach?"

On the other hand, district education officer (primary) said the teachers have enough work. "Teachers have plenty of work to do in these holidays. They have to complete accounts pertaining to the mid-day meal scheme and other official works.”

Meanwhile, private schools have not pay heed to the CM’s order and primary students are still attending classes.



Miffed farmers to besiege PM’s office
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 1
Having failed to achieve pending demands of the farming community through extended negotiations, the Bharti Kisan Union (BKU) has decided to launch an agitation on February 27 with lakhs of farmers and activists from all over the country laying indefinite siege to the office of the Prime Minister in Delhi.

Stating this here today after the state executive meeting of the body, BKU supremo Ajmer Singh Lakhowal told mediapersons that the siege would continue till better sense prevailed with the government and all pending demands of the farmers were accepted in writing.

He said as a result of the indifferent attitude of the government towards the plight of poor farmers, over 12,000 farmers had committed suicide in the past two decades in different parts of the country.

The agricultural economy was in a shambles, traditional crop rotation had become unviable, remunerative prices of farm produce were being denied and debt burden on farmers was increasing due to wrong policies of the government.

“Several demands of farmers like linking procurement price to wholesale price index, remission of agricultural debts to enable farmers face global competition in the wake of WTO regime and providing fresh loans at a maximum interest rate of 4 per cent have been hanging fire for several years. This is brewing resentment and discontentment among farmers.”

Lakhowal lamented that the government had resorted to import of food grain in the name of maintaining food security, which had adversely affected the interest of farmers here.

Ironically, wheat was imported at a price range between Rs 1,500 and Rs 2,000 per quintal whereas domestic farmers were denied the price of Rs 1,240 calculated on the basis of wholesale price index.

“Also, amidst talks of scrapping indirect subsidies being granted to farmers and refusing the demand for direct subsidies to improve the health of farm economy, the government has chosen to extend subsidies in different forms to corporate giants who have made an entry in the field of agricultural production, procurement and marketing.”

Claiming that over 50,000 farmers from Punjab would join the agitation in Delhi, the BKU chief said district presidents had been asked to mobilise farmers in their respective territories while office-bearers of the body would undertake tours of the state to ensure maximum participation in the protest.



New media policy soon, says Majithia
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
Minister for water supply and sanitation and information and public relations Bikram Singh Majithia exhorted the media to perform its duties freely and impartially. He was addressing a function after inaugurating the new office of a local TV channel launched here today.

Majithia said in the present era of advanced communication technology, media had to play an important role to educate and apprise people about the important activities taking place in the world .

He added that the state government would fulfil its commitment and bring out its new media policy soon to help mediapersons perform their responsibilities freely and impartially. Lok Sabha deputy speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal said media was playing an important role in highlighting all aspects of life.

He urged media to give due coverage to parliamentary and assembly discussions.

Minister for jails and tourism and cultural affairs Hira Singh Gabria appealed mediapersons to give more time for promotion and preservation of Punjabi culture. Among those who addressed the function were MP Sharanjit singh Dhillon, former minister Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal.



From advertising world to diamonds 
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
From teaching French to being a part of the world of advertising, renowned jewellery designer Vandana Munjal has come a long way. But the five years she has been into creating designs have been the most wonderful.

The rising demand for diamond jewellery has helped Vandana exercise her creativity on crafting exclusive pieces for her clients. "I am quite overwhelmed with the response as not only the niche category, but a large number of working women and people from the upper middle income groups are buying diamonds these days. What makes me happier is that the trend in Ludhiana is no different than that followed in metros like Mumbai," said Vandana while talking to The Ludhiana Tribune.Sharing her style of functioning, Vandana, who launched her latest collection - Temptations - here yesterday said she keeps her customer's profile in mind while framing her designs.

"Each piece is exclusive and I have the person in mind while designing them."

About trends, she said not only had buyers increased, awareness about diamonds had improved too. "A large number of people are quite aware about factors like quality, colour, cut and carat. This is much unlike earlier when all they knew was that money was involved in buying." Vandana’s stint in the corporate world has helped her manage things professionally. "The advantage I have is that I did not start jewellery designing business as I had nothing else to do. I worked in advertising sector, taught French and my previous experiences have helped me function in a very professional manner."



Rs 50,000 for Kisan Club
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 1
Honouring the recommendation of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) vice-chancellor Dr Manjit Singh Kang, Punjab agriculture minister Sucha Singh Langah has sanctioned an amount of Rs 50,000 for the construction of an office for the Naujwan Kisan Club, village Alliana, district Ferozepur, for carrying out farming related activities. 

The club is headed by Karnail Singh, who has received the chief minister's award twice in 2003 and 2006 for excellence in cotton growing. 



BCM, Kundan kids take part in sports meet
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, February 1
Students of primary wing of BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School, Shastri Nagar, participated in the annual sports meet that began today.

The two-day meet was inaugurated by school principal Maj P.S. Sandhu. Children, dressed in colourful clothes, also presented dances.

Results: spoon race: Chahat 1, Abhinav Grover 2 and Gurkabir 3; frog race: Naman 1, Akshar 2 and Nishant 3; back race: Yachit 1, Anshuman 2 and Kashish 3; kangaroo race: Abhishek 1, Ricky 2 and Karanpreet 3; sack race: Barjesh 1, Riya 2 and Rakshit 3; relay race: Danish, Deepak, Dhruv and Dhruv Samyal 1, Garvit, Divnoor, Gurvir and Harsh 2, Keshav, Manik, Mehak and Mudit 3; hurdles race: Harsh 1, Dilpreet Kaur 2 and Tanish 3; hand race: Sidak and Harmanjot 1, Anmol and Ujas 2, Swati and Aishiya 3; obstacle race: Gurleen Singh 1, Gopesh 2 and Gautam 3.

Kundan Vidya Mandir

A large number of students of Kundan Vidya Mandir, city branch, took part in the 63rd annual athletics meet at the Civil Lines branch, here today.

Competitions in regular as well as fun games were organised.

Results: LKG class: frog race: boys: Arham Jain 1, Aditya Jindal 2 and Gurman Jayot 3; girls: Kirti 1, Ayushi Jain 2.

Boys: 600m race: Kunal Partap Singh 1, Shreyans Jain 2 and Mrinal Partap Singh 2; 50m race: Bhavik 1, Ayush 2 and Varun 3; back race: Janishq 1, Varun Kapoor 2 and Lakshay 3; 200m race: Shreyans 1, Kartik Chaudhary 2 and Mrinal 3; 4x100m relay race: Gandhi House 1, Nehru House 2 and Tagore House 3.

Girls: shot put: Meghna Sharma 1, Rajni Verma 2 and Himanshi Arora 3; 200m race: Jagjeet 1, Meghna 2 and Sakshi 3; 4x100m relay race: Gandhi House 1, Tagore House 2 and Nehru House 3; back race: Ishdeep 1, Charu 2 and Ritu 3; 100m flat race: Jagjeet 1, Nidhi 2 and Rajni 3; long jump: Diksha Soin 1, Sneha Juneja 2 and Anmol Kaur 3; long jump: Jagjeet 1, Nidhi 2 and Rashmi.



Navkirat, Preeti best athletes
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, February 1
The 42nd edition of the annual sports meet (Smash-2008) of the DMCH concluded
on Wednesday.

Navkirat Bajwa and Preeti Bansal of 2004 batch were declared best athletes among boys and girls’ sections, respectively, while Hemjot from college of nursing was adjudged best athlete from the nursing batch.

During the two-day meet, competition in various disciplines like athletics, volleyball, cricket, basketball, badminton, table tennis besides indoor games like chess and carrom were held.

DMCH principal Dr Daljit Singh congratulated the organising members of DMC sports committee and participants for holding the event.



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