L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Truck Union Row
Cashier’s brother shot
Ex-president, two others booked

Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, February 12
The truck union row, which had apparently been resolved sometime ago, turned bloody when the brother of the union’s cashier was shot dead by its former president last night.

Lakhbir Singh of Adhyana village was shot dead by Bhagwant Singh of the town and his accomplices when the victim was returning from a hospital after meeting Kulbir Singh, his brother and cashier of the local unit of the truck union.

The local police has registered a case against Bhagwant Singh and his accomplices Chamkaur Singh of Bhodla and Balwinder Singh of Dhamot under Sections 302 and 341 of the IPC. No arrest has been made so far.

Sources at the local police station said the victim and the accused had been at loggerheads over the row that had reportedly been resolved by local leaders around three months ago.

Members of the warring groups had scuffled a few days ago and Kulbir Singh had received injuries in the incident.

The police had registered a case under Sections 323 and 506 of the IPC in this regard.

Lakhbir Singh, who had come out of the hospital after meeting his brother last night, was intercepted by a group of persons led by Bhagwant Singh.

Preliminary investigations by the police revealed that Bhagwant Singh had allegedly asked Lakhbir Singh to impress upon Kulbir Singh to step down from the post of cashier of the union.

“When Lakhbir tried to argue with Bhagwant Singh, the latter fired shots with his revolver and fled with his accomplices,” eyewitnesses told the police.

Lakhbir was taken to a private hospital in Ludhiana, where doctors declared him brought dead.



Bhangra icon: Say no to drugs this Valentine’s
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
Sending a strong message against drugs, UK-based Punjabi singer Mehsopuria has appealed to the youth to say no to drugs on this Valentine’s Day.

Mehsopuria, a teetotaller who shot to fame with songs like “Tere naam te boliyan”, “Thumka” and “Ranjha jogi”, feels Valentine’s Day is the apt occasion to convey this social message to the youth.

“In the hands of the youth lies the future and drugs, we have seen, are ruining many lives. As a singer, I would want to share the responsibility to evoke in youngsters the spirit to give up drugs,” he said.

As he gears for his first live show in Punjab, to be held in the city on February 14, the singer looks forward to conveying social messages through his songs which he composes.

Talking about Punjabi music, he asserted the need to tackle the problem of piracy.

Asked whether he agreed on forming a censor board for music videos, he said those banking on skin show must be held responsible. “Many singers and producers term vulgarity in their videos as public demand which is false.

The channels that air such videos, the producers and all others concerned with such production should be held responsible,” he said.

Sharing his future plans, he said he was working on a solo album on Gurbani. “Right now the album is my focus. That apart, Punjabi bhangra remains my favourite,” he said.



Digging resumes despite ban orders
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
Despite the MC banning the construction of a commercial complex in Gobind Nagar, the owner of the building started work on the foundation today.

Senior town planner Balkar Singh Brar had stopped the construction on the plot on after a neighbour had claimed that the building was coming up in violation of building bylaws.

The building material was thrown outside the complex today and labourers were working till afternoon, but they stopped work after some time.

D.P. Singh, a resident who lives in the house next to the upcoming commercial complex, said the digging started last evening.

“Bricks and other construction material was downloaded in front of the complex. Some workers started digging the foundation, but soon they left the place leaving the work midway. We are apprehensive that they would do it in the night so that nobody comes to know about it,” D.P. Singh said.

Brar said he did not know that the owner was going to start the construction again. He said he had banned it until further orders. The MC was conducting an inquiry into it and he had not given a clean chit as yet. He said he would send his team on the spot and find out what was happening.

The commercial complex was threatening a three-storeyed building belonging to D.P. Singh. Commissioner Vikas Partap had ordered an inquiry into the construction and directed Brar to look into the matter and give a report.



Marriage palaces just won’t pay up
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
Marriage palaces in the city which charge anything between Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh for a marriage party per day, owe the municipal corporation crores of rupees as house tax which they have not paid for the last eight years.

This, it is alleged, is being done in connivance with the MC authorities. Each time the issue crops up, marriage palace owners raise a hue and cry saying the tax is too high. The matter has been in the cold storage for the last eight years.

‘‘Every time they are sent house tax notices, they raise an objection. Then elected representatives call a meeting of the owners which reaches no conclusion. This has resulted in heavy losses to the MC, ’’ said an insider.

Former Mayor Nahar Singh Gill had held a meeting with the owners. It did not reach a consensus and no house tax was realised from the owners. The present mayor, Hakam Singh Gyaspura, also held a meeting. He proposed the marriage palaces paid tax at an increased rate of 40 per cent.

‘‘Property prices in the city has risen by at least 10 times in the last one decade. And they are not willing to pay a 40 per cent increase. As it is, this increase is insignificant, ’’ said an official.

The commissioner is chairman of the house tax committee. This committee too is yet to be constituted by the MC.

Parveen Bansal, senior deputy mayor, said he was aware that house tax collection was less than expected. Even commercial complexes on Mall Road and other areas are earning rent in crores but not paying house tax which amount to a few lakhs.

‘‘We are surely going to take up this matter, ’’ said Bansal.



Truck laden with wheat looted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
An alleged gang of highway robbers looted a truck transporting wheat near Kheri village last night.
Chander Shekhar who was transporting the wheat said he and his driver Nishan Singh was waylaid by a gang of four robbers who were in an Indica car without a number plate.

Robbers “detained” the two in the car while one of them drove away the truck. The two were later left stranded on the road.

The Sadar police has registered a case of theft and started investigation. The police said the complainant said the robbers were calling each other Lakha, Gulla, Kala and Pinka.



0001 goes for Rs 4.45 lakh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
The special number PB 10 CE 0001 fetched the transport department Rs 4.45 lakh.

Jagjit Singh got the number during the auction of fancy numbers at the Circuit House here today. According to sources, this has been the highest revenue generated so far in the auction of special numbers by the state transport department.

PB 10 CE 0002 went to Balwant Singh for Rs 1.40 lakh whereas 0003 was taken by Jassal Traders by paying Rs 1.20.

A sum of Rs 1.41 lakh was paid by Hagopal for 0004. The number 0005 fetched Rs 1.75 lakh.

For the past many months, the auction of VIP numbers was withheld in the state. It started about three months ago with the auction of three series --PB 10 CB, CC and CD.

Today's auction got approximately Rs 28 lakh. These special numbers included single digit numbers, two digit numbers and several others like 1111, 1234 and so on.



Vigilance inspects two rice mills
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
A team of the vigilance bureau today made surprise checks at two rice mills near Mullanpur to assess the quality of rice and verify the transactions.

Vigilance sources said the action came in the wake of complaints filed against mill owners. The complainants alleged that they were committing irregularities.

Sources said the vigilance was preparing a report on which action would be ordered by senior officials.



Trust comes to shot-putter’s aid
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
The Mittal Champion Trust has extended a helping hand to Navpreet Singh, India’s top shot putter and potential medal hope for the Beijing Olympics.

The trust, established by steel magnate Lakshmi Niwas Mittal with the objective of promoting excellence in sports in India, will sponsor him for the initial three-month training in the US.

The Tribune had highlighted in these columns in December last year that Navpreet was spending from his own pocket to fly abroad and he would have to work on daily wages to pay for his stay and training there.

The news was carried just two months after the shot putter from Doraha won the gold at the Asian Athletics Championship at Amman, Jordan.

Navpreet, however, had to pay a price to receive the sponsorship. He was harassed for two months by some organisers who posed as sponsors and tried to con him on the pretext that they would provide him with free sponsorship for six months if he endorsed their product free of cost.

“They do not realise that every moment is crucial for me and their act has wasted my precious two months of training,” said Navpreet before leaving for New Delhi to catch a flight for the US.

He thanked former DGP M.S. Bhullar for supporting him in a crunch situation. “This sponsorship would not have been possible without timely help from him. He encouraged me to start looking for other sponsors,” Navpreet said.

“I contacted Manisha Malhotra, who once came to the National Institute of Sports (NIS) to extend support and fund talented sportspersons and potential Olympic medal winners to enable them to train under world-class specialists so that they can compete with the best in the world.”

“She acknowledged my achievements and agreed to sponsor me initially for three months. She also assured me that if I break my own record (19.93 metre) and heave the iron ball to 20m then the trust will support me till the 2012 London Olympics,” said Navpreet.



Peace bus makes detour through city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
City residents got a surprise visitor today when the Indo-Pak peace bus, “Sada-e-Sarhad”, passed through the city after its route had to be altered due to a traffic snarl-up.

The traffic police stopped traffic on the busy Ferozepore Road here this afternoon just before the bus was to pass through, much to the surprise of commuters. Soon the bus whizzed past at a high speed.

Incidentally, this is the first time that the Indo-Pak peace bus has taken this route.

Police sources said the bus route had to be diverted from Phagwara owing to a massive traffic jam there.

The bus crossed the Sutlej bridge near Sidhwan Bet, putting the Jagraon police on high alert. The sudden change caused snarl-ups at main intersections in the city.

Traffic reaching the road from Pakhowal was the worst hit, as the police kept commuters waiting.

Similarly, long queues were seen at Bharat Nagar Chowk and Jagraon bridge.



Woman dies during delivery, kin allege negligence
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
A young woman of 27 died due to the alleged negligence of doctors at a nursing home here this evening.

Relatives and neighbours of the woman blocked traffic and raised slogans in protest against the “negligence” of doctors and demanded that the guilty be booked immediately. The doctor concerned also reportedly received injuries.

Jagdish Bajaj, a relative of the deceased Puja Bajaj, said she had given birth to a baby and they were told by doctors to deposit the balance amount of delivery. “As soon as the amount was deposited, the doctors declared her dead. They were just waiting to get the amount. We were not even told the cause of death. It is sheer negligence on their part,” he alleged.

Despite repeated attempts, the doctors of the nursing home could not be contacted.



City resident alleges BSNL fraud
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
Despite finding one of its distributors from Jagraon - Sandeep Goyal - ineligible for distributorship, the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) re-started its supplies to him yesterday. Alleging a fraud, a local resident Surinder Kumar Sharma said at a press conference that BSNL had stopped its supplies to the distributor after a complaint on the issue.

"However, now they have re-started supplies, even as there are no relaxations in terms and conditions for eligibility and the distributor submitting forged documents," said Sharma, who had applied for distributorship of BSNL products in Ludhiana territory and found himself ineligible.

"I later found that a Jagraon-based resident had got his tenure renewed. I knew this person personally and was surprised, as he was under-qualified," he added.

Sharma applied for tender documents submitted by the distributor under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. "The documents were incorrect and I complained to the BSNL which, after enquiring into the matter, stopped its supplies to him. However, now they have re-started them. This could be dangerous for the safety of customers and even the country," he alleged.



Complainants air grievances
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
Mayor Hakam Singh Gyapsura today listened to the grievances of zone A and B and asked officials concerned to redress the problems.

Zonal commissioners, officials of B&R, O&M, Tehbazaari, house tax department attended the meeting and solved the problems of complainants.



Do not commercialise

Two days ago, a core committee of Ludhiana municipal corporation had discussed a ‘master plan’ for the city. From the proceedings it is clear that politicians here want to convert residential areas around Gill Road, Samrala Chowk and Jodhewal Basti, Chandigarh Road, Dhandari and Gias Pura into commercial ones. These areas are already flooded with industries. In fact, rather than more commercialisation, industries with a load of more than 20 KW should be shifted out from these areas. The focus of the ‘master plan’ should be more on cleanliness and reducing pollution.

Anonymous, Ludhiana

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Rising Steel Price
While CM assures hope, Ramoowalia brings one
LBP chief fixes industry’s meeting with Paswan
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
While Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today offered merely a verbal assurance to protesting industry on the issue of steel prices, Lok Bhalai Party president Balwant Singh Ramoowalia won industry’s favour by securing their meeting with union minister of steel Ram Vilas Paswan on February 14.

Ramoowalia gave a phone call to industrialists sitting on dharna this morning to tell them about the development.

Soon after the announcement, the industry formed a six-member delegation that would head to New Delhi.

For Ramoowalia, who also announced his plan to contest from Ludhiana in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, has found instant favour among local industry with this move.

“He called us this morning and said a meeting has been fixed. We will support him for he has come to our support,” said Charanjit Singh Vishwakarma, president of United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association.

For the industry, that has been protesting against rising steel prices for the past 10 days, their meeting with the Chief Minister, who was in the city today, failed to yield fruitful result, as Badal asked them to submit their problems in detail so that he could take up the matter with the centre.

“We apprised Badal of the gravity of the problem we are facing due to rapidly rising steel rates. He asked us to prepare details on the effect and said he would take up the matter with the centre,” said an industrialist who met the Chief Minister this morning.

The delegation that would go to New Delhi would include K.K. Seth of Neelam Cycles and Sanjiv Dhanda and S.C. Ralhan of Engineering Export Promotion Council.

In spite of the meeting, industry representatives said they would go ahead with the bandh on February 14 across the state.

“The bandh is being observed and we will cease to protest only after we get a concrete solution,” said Varinder Kapoor of United Cycle and Parts manufacturers Association.

Members of Dashmesh Nagar Small Scale Industries Association, led by their president Manmohan Singh Ubhi, today observed the relay fast.



Set up varsity for girls: Badal to Khalsa Dewan
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
Presiding over the centenary celebrations of Khalsa Dewan at the Khalsa College for Women here today, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal asked the management to set-up a deemed university for girls at their premises. Granting Rs 20 lakh to KCW, run by Khalsa Dewan, Badal said he wanted to contribute for the institutes run by the management.

Addressing the gathering, Badal announced that the Government of India had agreed in principle to set-up a Central University to enable students to compete at the global level.

Outlining the significance of education in the socio-economic development of any state or nation, Badal said growth targets set by the Centre and state governments cannot be achieved unless concerted efforts to promote education, especially among rural students is made.

Badal added that the state government had envisaged an ambitious programme to revamp the entire education system by upgrading three Government Senior Secondary Schools, in each constituency, at a cost of Rs 50 lakh each besides opening a series of Adarsh schools in each block of the state to provide quality education to meritorious students from the rural background free of cost. Each Adarsh school would entail an expenditure of Rs four crore and set up in collaboration with eminent industrial houses. Showing deep concern over the poor turnout of rural students at the university level, Badal said: “How can poor students compete at the higher institutions of learning when their elementary education has not been good.”

The Chief Minister said the gulf between the privileged and unprivileged sections of society, in terms of education, must be bridged at the earliest otherwise it could lead to unrest in the society. Badal urged the Centre and state governments to play a pro-active role for promotion of education.

Badal appreciated the milestones achieved by the Khalsa Dewan during its 100 years in services and for promoting the cause of education.

In his welcome address, treasurer of Khalsa Dewan Gurdish Singh Grewal outlined the brief history of Khalsa Dewan spanning over 100 years (1907-2007). Earlier, principal of the college Varinder Kaur Thind gave a brief account of the academic and extra-curricular achievements of the college.



Students get info on Aussie varsities
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
An Australian education fair was organised for students willing to study abroad here today.

A large number of students and their parents visited the show and received information about courses in Australian universities. Some students got enrolled on the spot.

Eighteen institutions, including some world-class universities like University of Western Australia, University of Adelaide, La Trobe University, RMIT University, Murdoch University, Deakin University, James Cook University participated in the fair.

According to Gulshan Kumar, senior director, Kangaroo Studies, which organised the event: “The company has had it presence in the state for the past 12 years and after getting feedback from parents of students who had studied in Australia, we decided to hold the exhibition. The aim is to provide an opportunity to students to have information directly from representatives of Australian universities and institutions.”



Basant Panchami celebrated at DIMT
Tribune News Service

Doraha, February12
Students of MBA, BBA and BCA courses at Doraha Institute of Management & Technology (DIMT) celebrated Basant Panchmi on the college campus, here today.

Dr R.K. Lekhi, director of the institute, said various competitions were organised on the occasion and the students were dressed in yellow to celebrate the spirit of the season. The whole campus bore a festive look. Competitions in virtual-selling, kite-flying, table-decoration, flower-arrangement were organised.Sukhpal Singh, chairman of DIMT, inaugurated the kite- flying competition. Umal Kaur, director of Guru Harkrishan Public School, Doraha, Jaspreet Kaur and Tapvir Singh, administrator DCE, Supreet Kaur, co-ordinator DIMT, and Japvir Singh, chief co-ordinator were present on the occasion.


Sell-It competition: 1. Ravinder, Vipin, Neeraj (MBA-II); 2. Yogesh, Vippy, Vipin Rana (MBA-II); 3. Amit Sharma, Nirmal, Jatinder Deol.

Virtual Selling: 1 Amit, Jasmeet, Pooja (BBA-II) (Spice Connections); 2 Vipin, Ravinder, Neeraj & Chand Babu (MBA-II) (Cycles); 3 Amit Sharma, Nirmal, Jatinder Deol (MBA-II) (LG).

PowerPoint Presentation: 1 Harpreet & Mandeep (BCA); 2 Harmanpreet & Harinder (BCA); 3 Himaxi & Pargat Singh (BCA).



Seminar on youth empowerment skills
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
A seminar on ‘youth empowerment skills’ was held on a fashion institute campus here today. It was in collaboration with World Alliance for Youth Empowerment (WAYE) - an NGO under The Art of Living Foundation, set up by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

The session aimed at enhancing positive personality traits of youngsters.



Karamsar kabaddi team lift cup
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 12
The kabaddi team of Karamsar (Rara Sahib) emerged victorious during the finals of the 4th Nirmal Singh Nimma memorial kabaddi tournament that concluded at Kalakh village near here, today. The team from Dasmesh Academy, Kalakh, was a close second, losing by just half a point. The winners were awarded Rs 1.11 lakh while the runners-up received Rs 81,000.

The concluding function was presided over by former minister Jagdish Singh Garcha and Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal was the chief guest.

Appreciating the role of organisers in promoting sports, Badal said it would help curb social evils such as drug addiction. He felicitated a few sports promoters for their distinguished contribution. Bharpoor Singh Jarag, Rachhpal Singh Hara, DSP Mohali, Surinder Singh Kala and Sippy Cheema, an international football player, were also felicitated.

The tournament, organised jointly by Punjab Kabaddi Association (PKA) and NRI Kabaddi Federation, was inaugurated yesterday by Jagdish Singh Garcha.

According to Surinder Singh Toni, president of PKA, in each category of kabaddi matches only 18 teams were allowed to participate. Eight international kabaddi teams fought for Nimma Memorial cup today.



2 officials to clear sale deeds
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 12
To expedite execution of sale deeds, the DC posted two officials in the sub-registrar’s office today.

Naib tehsildars Joginder Singh and Tarsem Singh Mittal were posted as sub-registrar West and East, respectively. Work has suffered for some days now with sub- registrar Mukesh Kumar in hospital. Though Joginder Singh was assigned the task two days after Mukesh Kumar went on leave, several sale deeds are pending clearance.



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