L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


MC set to resume sealing drive
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, April 22
With the deadline for correcting building bylaw violations having ended yesterday, the MC is likely to resume the sealing and demolition drives in the city.

However, a senior elected functionary of the MC, requesting not to be quoted, said the decision was not conclusive during an informal meeting convened by the mayor, Hakam Singh Giaspura, here today.

“In all probability, the matter will be placed before the core committee which is expected to meet in a day or so to seek the cooperation of councillors with regard to the sealing or demolition drives. Unless the elected representatives decide not to intervene, the drive will not achieve any result and will be an exercise in futility,” he remarked.

To chalk out modalities and formulate a plan of action, the mayor had held a meeting of senior officials and MC functionaries at his camp office. Besides the MC commissioner, Vikas Pratap, senior deputy mayor Parveen Bansal, deputy mayor Sunita Aggarwal and some SAD councillors attended the meeting.

While there was no official word on what transpired at the meeting, it was learnt that the elected representatives gave a nod (in principle) to the MC to identify buildings with blatant violations so that the process of sealing or demolition could be resumed.

Highly placed sources told The Tribune that officials of the building branch had been asked to prepare a list of malls, commercial complexes, marriage palaces, hotels and restaurants where building bylaws had been violated.

The MC drive is expected to be launched in the next couple of days. Public outcry against liquor vends on Gill road and Shimlapuri was also discussed and a decision was taken to shift these as soon as possible.



Fire destroys wheat in 21 acres
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 22
At least 21 acres of wheat crop was reduced to ashes here during the past 24 hours. Wheat straw in 40 bighas was also destroyed.

Sparking in high-tension power wires passing over the fields and friction in movable components of combine harvesters was reported to be the cause of the fire.

Farmers have demanded compensation for their losses. Residents of Nathumajra, Phallewal and Saharanmajra villages played an important role in checking the spread of fire to nearby fields.



Rape, sodomy cases high in city
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 22
The safety of women and children is in focus in the city following the recent cases of rape, molestation and sodomy.

Neither parks nor thickly populated migrant colonies are safe. Even a moving bus could be dangerous. Even if their target is accompanied with a friend or son, it does not deter them.

The image of the police has also taken a beating. In most cases, it discourages the victim or helps the accused.

Recently, some cops had raped a minor in a park situated close to the police, administrative and judicial officers’ colony.

On Sunday night, a woman was molested in a moving bus. Four PCR cops chased the bus and saved the woman, but this good work was undone by police officials at the Kotwali and the Division No. 6 police.

They kept shuttling her to each other. Journalists present there were shocked that no woman cop was present to help the victim. Also, the driver and the bus “mysteriously” disappeared.

The rape of a three-year-old migrant girl in Shimla Puri last month had numbed residents. The girl has undergone a series of surgeries for the reconstruction of her vitals. It is reported that she may not be able to bear a child.

It is not the girls alone who are unsafe. The district has a dubious distinction of recording the highest number of sodomy cases in the state.

As per a study by Dr D.C. Sharma of the chemical examiner's laboratory in Patiala, Ludhiana recorded 23 per cent of sodomy cases reported in the past two years. Mostly, migrant girls and boys are the target.



Timely action saves student’s life
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 22
Timely action by the police and passersby saved the life of a student who was seriously hurt after being hit by a tractor trailer on the Jagera road here today.

Rohit, a Class VII student of GHG Khalsa Senior Secondary School, was seriously injured when he was hit by the tractor trailer.

Some passersby and a police party led by SHO Sukhdev Singh shifted the profusely bleeding Rohit to hospital. He was later referred to a multi-speciality hospital in Ludhiana.

In another incident, Jeeto (42) was killed after being hit by a tractor trailer at the local grain market yesterday.

As the kin of the deceased stated that they did not want action against anyone, no case was registered.

In yet another incident, the body of an unidentified middle-aged man was found near Bhogiwal village on the Ludhiana-Malerkotla road, near here, yesterday.

The police has kept the body at the mortuary in the civil hospital, Malerkotla, for identification. The body will be cremated by the civil authorities if nobody identifies it within three days.



Co-op bank penalised Rs 20,000
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 22
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has ordered Ludhiana Primary Cooperative Agricultural Development Bank to pay Rs 20,000 as compensation to a customer for deficient services.

The orders were pronounced by the forum while deciding a complaint filed by Manjit Singh of Ghumail village.

The bank was held guilty for causing delay in remitting the insurance amount charged from a debtor to the insurance company.

Manjit Singh had taken a loan of Rs 40,000 for buying buffalos from the bank. The bank had charged Rs 1,470 for insurance of the buffalos on May 25, 2004.

The National Insurance Company issued him an insurance policy from June 5, 2004, to June 4, 2005.

On June 15, 2004, one of his buffalos died. But the insurance company denied the claim, stating that the claim had arisen within 15 days of the purchase of the policy whereas the policy conditions do not allow to make the payment of the claim if it arose within 15 days.

He then moved the consumer forum. Bank officials pleaded before the forum that the animal was insured with the insurance company which was liable to pay the claim.

However, the insurance company justified the repudiation of the claim. The complainant said if the bank had paid the insurance premium on May 25, 2004, when they had charged it, the insurance company would have paid the claim.



Excise scam accused traced to hospital
The accused of the Rs 24 lakh excise duty scam is reportedly suffering from a serious ailment and is in ICU
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 22
Almost seven months after a Rs 24 lakh excise duty fraud, scripted by breaking into the computer system network of the district excise department, hit the headlines, the economic offences wing has managed to trace the accused.

But the joy of hunting him down in Ahmedgarh was shortlived. The accused, Avtar Singh, aged about 30, is reportedly suffering from a serious ailment and is at the ICU of a private hospital.

The accused, a computer expert, was a contractual employee with the district excise and taxation department. He was charged in October last year with using the password of a senior officer to create bogus firms with VAT numbers of existing firms.

The police could not arrest him, fearing that if something happened to him in custody, the police would be held responsible. He is under police watch in the hospital, but has yet to be arrested.

Investigation suggests that he may have misused his position to break into the computer system of a senior officer, but his involvement was just the tip of the iceberg.

According to an FIR lodged on the complaint of the AETC, H.L. Chadha, now posted in Moga, Avtar Singh in connivance with some traders stole VAT numbers and created bogus firms.

These firms traded with other firms using the VAT numbers with VAT charges being added to the firms that owned the number. The scam was unearthed when trucks of the real firm were stopped at Shambhu for “over due” VAT charges.

Sources said it was not possible that no other employee of the department was involved. The police is also questioning the wisdom of senior officers for giving him the passwords.

Sources said classified information and access to secret files could have been avoided if officials had not disclosed the details to an employee who was not even on the regular rolls of the department.



Widespread protests against inflation
Cong, CPM, labourers hold rallies
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, April 22
Widespread protests against rising inflation were reported from various parts of the city today. Workers of the Congress, which holds the reigns at the Centre, held a dharna at New Grain Market.

District Congress committee president Jagmohan Sharma said people were suffering due to government’s failure to put a check on inflation. From farming community to labourers, people from various economic strata were finding it hard to meet their daily expenses, he said.

Among others who participated in the dharna were Sushil Prashar, Amarjit Oberoi, Samir Sharma, Krishan Kharbanda and Veena Sobti. The CPM also held a march and observed hunger strike on the issue outside the deputy commissioner’s office here.

Hundreds of people participated in the protest. Addressing protesters, district secretary Mangat Ram Pasla said the government had failed to control inflation due to which common man was badly hit.

General secretary Mahinder Singh was also present. Besides, industrial and farm labourers held a rally against inflation outside the deputy commissioner’s office.

They had gathered on a call given by the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU). The workers raised slogans against the government and submitted a memorandum to the administration.

Addressing protesters, CITU general secretary Raghunath Singh blamed “faulty economic policies” of the government for the rapidly rising inflation.

Condemning the government for its failure to curb rising prices, he said people were losing faith in the current UPA government and they could soon lose power.

Demanding a ban on future trading of essential commodities, union leaders said instead of importing grains from other countries the government should strengthen its own distribution system and offer better rates to farmers.

The workers also demanded increase in basic wage. “Basic wage in Punjab has not been revised for the past seven years.”



Attack on CMCH unionist
Accused says he is victim
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 22
Nathaniel Gill, PPCC executive member, who along with his son Nitin and some others has been charged with attacking Amrin Gill, president of the CMCH sangharsh committee, has claimed that actually he was a victim of high-handedness of Gill and his supporters.

Talking to The Tribune here today, he alleged that following an altercation on the evening of April 20 when Gill hit his car from behind, Gill and his supporters had attacked his house late in the evening.

“The next morning, Gill and his supporters manhandled me and my son when we were going to buy milk near the CMCH. It was with an intention to implicate me and other members of my family in a false case that Gill had got himself admitted to hospital and lodged a complaint against me,” he maintained.

In his representation to the SSP, Nathaniel demanded an impartial inquiry. He also called for the setting up of a medical board to examine the injuries sustained by Gill.



Samaritan to jumbo’s rescue
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 22
An injured female elephant was rescued from the clutches of its cruel masters here today. It was later handed over to the forest department officials.

A good Samaritan, Ramesh Bhanger, spearheaded the campaign with the help of
the police.

The elephant was limping its way towards the CMC road when it caught the attention of Bhanger, president of the Anti-Corruption Group.

He complained about the pitiable condition of the elephant and requested help from the police.

Acting on the complaint, PCR officers reached the scene and rescued the elephant from its masters. They have initiating proceeding against its masters.

“The mahout along with few of his followers was collecting money from people on the pretext of feeding the elephant. The old elephant was forced to walk, ignoring the fact that it had wounds on both legs on the right side,” said Bhanger.

The mahout told the police that he had brought the elephant on lease from its owner, Chunni Lal.

A team of forest department led by range officer Jagveer Singh got the possession of the elephant. The four accused have been arrested.



City doc delivers lecture at Patna conference
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 22
Dr Veena Jain, chief of gynaecological oncology at Mohan Dai Oswal Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation here, was invited as a guest speaker at the "Gynae-oncology update".

It was held by the Bihar Obstetrics and Gynaecological Society and Mahavir Cancer Sansthan in Patna on April 19 and 20.

In her talk on "cancer in pregnancy”, she said the incidence of cancer in pregnancy was on the rise due to various reasons like late marriage and conception.

The cancers of breast and cervix were the most common cancers occurring
during  pregnancy.

Dr Jain observed that a young patient could get the treatment of breast cancer even during pregnancy with equally good and safe results as in a non-pregnant patient.

The conference was attended by more than 250 gynaecologists from Bihar and adjoining states.



50 quintal narcotics destroyed
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, April 22
The police burned over 50 quintals of narcotics seized in around 40 cases during 2005-06, at Ramgarh, near here, today.

The narcotics included 5,063 kg poppy husk, 36 kg ganja, 1.79 gm smack and 85
gm of heroin.

Interacting with policemen from Ludhiana and Ludhiana (rural) police districts, DIG, Ludhiana range, Ishwar Singh said the district shared its boundaries with Haryana and it was not far from Rajasthan.

Interstate smuggling could be checked effectively with the joint efforts of the
police authorities.



From Schools
Students take pledge to save earth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 22
World Earth Day was observed at BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School, Shastri Nagar, today. As many as 2,000 children took a pledge to protect the planet.

The students of the school's Eco Club were nominated as captains for land, air, water, waste and energy along with teacher coordinators.

They will organise various projects during the year to spread awareness and to protect and conserve natural resources.

Meanwhile, students of Green Land Senior Secondary School Secondary Public School today made an appeal to the public to save the planet earth. As many 100 students participated in a poster-making competition.

Students of Classes VI and VII made a presentation highlighting the problems being faced by the planet and the ways to overcome them by doing their little bit.



Earth Day at PAU
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 22
Earth Day was celebrated on the PAU campus today. The department of agricultural meteorology, in collaboration with the ministry of earth sciences, Government of India, organised a special programme.

PAU VC Dr Manjit Singh Kang, who was the chief guest, said "thinking globally, acting locally" should be the approach.

He said, "Everyday is an Earth Day and we must take steps to safeguard the
planet each day."

A painting competition on environmental issues was also organised wherein 116 students from nine city schools participated.

There were three groups of participants. Group I: up to Class V; group II: Classes VI to IX; and group III: Classes X to XII.

The entries were judged by Parveen Kumar, lecturer, fine arts, Government College for Women, and Jaswinder Singh, sculptor and free lancer from Khanna.

The first, second and third prizes in group I were bagged by Vidushi Prashar (Sacred Heart Convent Senior Secondary School), Swrishti Sharma (DAV Public School) and Arnav Jain (BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School), respectively.

Dr G.S. Bains, head, department of agricultural meteorology, proposed the
vote of thanks.



Chirag best story teller
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 22
An innovative activity day was organised at Bal Bharati Public School wherein students participated in a story-telling competition.

The result was declared keeping in view the presentation, confidence and narration of the students. Chirag, Kanishk, Janmeet Singh, Riya Akalroop stood first in the competition.

The school also organised a fruit party for its pre-primary section students. The objective was to develop healthy eating habits.



State-of-the-art gymnasium gathers dust
Athletes train in filthy conditions
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 22
State-of-the-art multi-facility gymnasium is gathering dust at Guru Nanak Stadium as it waits for its formal inauguration.

The gymnasium, built at a cost of Rs 7 lakh to fulfil the need of hundreds of athletes, has been kept under lock and key by the district sport department while the athletes at the stadium have to endure scorching heat while undergoing weight-training in the open.

To make the matters worse, continuous flow of water from the toilet nearby has dampened the surface and it has become breeding ground for mosquitoes. Persistent leakage from the water pipes has further aggravated the situation.

"It can be dangerous to undergo weight-training in the open, especially in this weather, as an athlete sweats profusely during the training and direct exposure with the outer environment can result in hamstring injuries and sun stroke said," Charanjit Arora, a gym instructor.

Even the high-profile athletes, who come for weight-training here, are not allowed to enter the new gymnasium.

Most of the weight-training equipments have either been purchased by the players themselves or provided by some good Samaritans.

"Weight-training is necessary for every athlete irrespective of his/her area of interest. It is a matter of shame for the sports department that despite state-of-the-art infrastructure in place, athletes have to undergo training in the open," said an athlete.

Most of the athletes, who come to the stadium for training, belong to humble families and cannot afford the expenses of a gymnasium.

"The sports department expects medals from athletes, but they are not allowed to use the facilities. The gymnasium is ready and I fail to find a reason why players are not allowed to use it. We do not have a magic wand. We need equipment to train ourselves. If we continue to undergo weight-training in such hazardous conditions, we will definitely fall sick, which can be dangerous for our career too," said a national-level athlete.

"The complex has no space for weight-training, so the athletes have no option but to undergo training under filthy conditions. Some athletes have joined private gyms while others, who can not afford, have no where to go," said a coach.

While talking to The Tribune, district sports officer (DSO) Gian Inder Singh said, "We are giving final touches to the gymnasium and it will soon be open for athletes."

Sources in the sports department said the inauguration of the gymnasium was being delayed on purpose by some high officials of the sports department.

The DSO was due to retire this month and the higher-ups did not want him to earn the accolades for setting up the gymnasium.



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