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Protesters demand water, get lathis
Tribune News Service

A resident, who was beaten up in Ludhiana on Sunday.
A resident, who was beaten up in Ludhiana on Sunday. Tribune photographs

Ludhiana, July 6
Ruckus prevailed at Chander Nagar in Haibowal today when a group of residents were beaten up by relatives and supporters of area councillor when they were on a dharna in front of his house for shortage of water.

A number of residents of New Hargobindpura staged a dharna in front of ward number 31 councillor Roopamdeep Kaur Malhi's house at 8 a.m. They raised slogans against the councillor accusing her of not serving her area properly as they had been reeling under water scarcity for two weeks.

Soon after there was a commotion and supporters of the councillor were seen carrying sticks. The agitators alleged that they were beaten up by general secretary of district unit of SAD Shivinder Singh Bajwa and councillor’s husband Narinder Singh Malhi.

The agitators told the media with torn clothes that they had just gone there to ask the councillor for resuming water supply. ‘‘When we were sitting on the dharna, some supporters came and asked us to move. We did not move and they started beating us with lathis. Then councillor's husband also joined them. He was wearing a cap when he beat us up,’’ said the residents.

Narinder Singh Malhi, however, refuted all charges. He said the residents attacked their house and they had to prevent them from doing so. They blocked the road and did not allow residents to pass through. When they were asked to get aside, they set a dhaba on fire. This led to total chaos and the residents on both sides picked up a fight. They tore each others’ clothes and finally the blame fell of the councillors supporters.

He said he had already assured them that they would talk to MC employees to rectify the snag in motor supplying their area. But it took an ugly scene. Malhi said he informed the police that people were attacking his house but the police did not reach the spot. No action has been taken as yet, said Malhi.


Toll barrier takes a toll on Rajgarh
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Rajgarh (Khanna), July 6
Toll tax evasion is taking a toll on the lives of villagers here. In order to avoid toll tax barrier installed on National Highway 1, Doraha road, drivers take route from this village, causing fatal accidents.

Two people have lost their lives in the past two years and more than 12 were injured due to traffic "diversion" to evade tax.

"The village was a quiet place before the setting up of the toll barrier near Doraha. However, a large number of vehicles now pass through the village, a sight that was rare before the tax barrier came up", said an accident victim of the village, Davinder Singh.

He recalled that on April 13 last year, he was going on scooter when a speeding truck hit him from rear in the village.

"The villagers rushed me to CMCH, Ludhiana, where I underwent treatment for three months for multiple fractures and head injuries," said Davinder, an electrician.

Yet another victim, 23-year-old Karamjit Singh was seriously injured in a hit-and-run case two years ago in this village when a speeding SUV hit him. He was about to leave for Canada when the accident took place. He failed to reach Canada in time and his studies were delayed due to this accident.

In the past two years, Ajmer Singh, Shiv Kumar and an unidentified man were killed due to heavy rush of traffic passing through this village.

Most of the cases are hit and run. Villagers had even installed a barrier, for vehicles entering into the village, but the scheme failed miserably. "This obstructed even the village's traffic comprising harvesting machines, combine machines and tractors," said village lambardar Joginder Singh.

Children and elderly have stopped coming to the phirni (outer roads) of the village, added Lakha Singh, panchayat member.

Sarpanch Narinder Singh said the village panchayat had approached everybody from tehsildar to a minister, apprising them of issue, but nothing had been done.

Villagers pointed out that there was a marriage palace adjacent to the toll barrier.

"High rate of toll tax led to permanent closure of this marriage palace. In fact, the owner has now rented it out as a store house," added Joginder Singh.



Govt under fire for power tariff hike
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 6
Even as the state government, along with the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), was facing severe criticism from both urban population and ruralites, especially farmers, for acute power crisis, the increase in power tariff allowed by the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) has come as a bolt from the blue for the government.

The partner in the ruling coalition, the BJP, having its vote bank in the urban areas, is sore at the decision, and its timing, as the hike in tariff had come at the moment when the party had achieved a good degree of success in the recently held civic elections.

The top leadership of the party is said to be having hectic parleys at various levels and a damage control exercise might be initiated by taking up the matter with the alliance partner - the Shiromani Akali Dal.

Increase in power tariff will further upset the budget of the common man. — A Consumer

* * * * * *

The PSEB has played a cruel joke with the industry and people of Punjab. — Beopar Mandal president

The state president of the party Rajinder Bhandari has convened a meeting of party executive on July 8 to discuss the hike in power tariff and evolve a strategy to check possible erosion of the urban base.

It was the BJP which had opposed the increase in the power rates, raised by the PSEB in September last year when the government had been forced to roll back the hike and a subsidy of Rs 298 crore was announced by the state government for the PSEB to offset the loss suffered on account of the reverting to old rates of power.

Consumers in the domestic, commercial and industrial sectors have come down heavily on the PSERC for imposing more burden on them by way of costlier power rather than asking the PSEB to set its house in order and improve financial health by checking massive theft of power and heavy transmission losses, coupled with other wasteful expenditure which added to its huge deficit every year.

Terming the power tariff hike in unjustified and unwarranted, the Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal president Mohinder Pal Aggarwal said the industry was already crippled due to shortage of power, and at the same time urban population was made to suffer heavy scheduled and unscheduled power cuts in the prevailing extreme weather conditions.

"By jacking up rates of power at such juncture, the PSEB has played a cruel joke with the people of Punjab."

Satnam Singh, a retired college teacher, said prices of essential items were already touching the sky and inflation was at its highest level. Increase in power tariff would further upset the budget of the common man and put a burden which could well have been avoided in the prevailing economic scenario.



When Amarnath yatris had a close shave
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 6
As many as 15 devotees of the city, who had gone to Amaranth yatra, today revealed how they had a providential escape in Srinagar, which is still on the boil due to the land deal controversy.

The Shri Amarnath Yatra Welfare Organisation conducted a press conference at the media centre here where the devotees to the holy cave revealed the actual situation of the valley and shared their experience with the reporters.

Everyone had a story to tell as almost all of them travelled for more than 1,000 km before they could take a safe shelter. While some escaped from grenade attacks, others sustained minor injuries as angry mob pelted their vehicle with stones.

City resident Manish Kohli and Rohit Bansal were part of a group that was stopped near Banihal on July 1 by local residents protesting against the land deal.

Rohit Bansal said, "The windscreens of around all 35 to 40 vehicles were broken by the angry mob and we were made to return from Banihal. It was unfortunate that all this happened in front CRPF and Army personnel who were watching the whole affair as mock spectator."

Raj Kumar Aggarwal said the situation was tense in Kashmir but he decided to resume his pilgrimage from Dal lake. "No sooner did I resume my pilgrimage, the angry protesters started throwing stone at my vehicle and in the meantime someone thrown a grenade, which exploded just close to my vehicle. I sustained a few bruises and took shelter in a nearby hotel. The mere thought of the incident gives me jitter," he said.

Rajinder Sharma, national president of the Shri Amarnath organisation said, "We hope the situation in the valley will normalise soon as it is not only hurting the sentiments of devotees but also affecting the business of hundreds of locals who make their bread and butter from the pilgrimage."



Farmers reject 50 paisa cess
Move to bail out PAU
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 6
The local farmers have outrightly rejected the economists’ proposal to impose 50 paisa cess per Rs 100 of their crop produce to save Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) from the present financial crises. They feel that it was between the university and state government to find out an amicable solution to the ongoing pension problem and the shortage of funds and the farmers had no role to play in it.

President of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Rajewal) Balbir Singh Rajewal said that nowhere in the world, the farm varsities were being run by farmers. "The university economists have suggested the state government to let the varsity be taken-over by the farmers. In addition, they have proposed to put 50 paisa cess on farmers on their crop production of Rs 100. Like this, funds worth several crores will be generated and the university will come out from the present crisis,” he added.

Holding the university responsible for the present crisis, Rajewal asked why the farmers should bear the burden of financial crunch faced by it? "On an average a trolley contains 40 to 50 quintals of produce. If farmers are asked to shell out Rs 250 after every trolley, what will he get out of it? Tomorrow, the government will decide to increase the cess for streamlining some other work, which is absolutely not justified", complained Rajewal.

Another progressive farmer said the scientists, who served in the university about two decades ago had contributed immensely for both university and the farming community. Unfortunately, the university in the past 15 years, has come out with just two new varieties of paddy (PR 201) and wheat (PBW 555).

The research work has suffered in all these years. "Creating awareness is not needed. Farmer, today wants results, solution to all his problems. Varsity scientists have failed to develop personal rapport with the farmers and their problems. We will definitely not bear their burden. Farmers are already reeling under financial debt, how can they help others?”, he asked further adding if the government decided to impose cess on farmers, the latter will revolt against it.

District BKU president Mewa Singh Sihala rubbished the suggestions made by economists to constitute 70 to 80 member farmers’ committee to run the university.” We are there to produce food grain for the nation and not to indulge in dirty politics. We are absolutely not in favour of running the university”, he added.



Licence of rly ticket agency cancelled
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 6
The divisional headquarters of Northern Railway has suspended the licence of an out-ticket agency, located near the main gate of railway station here.

According to sources, railway officials were receiving regular complaints of overcharging by the ticket agency from passengers. Earlier also the agency was barred from sale of tickets for some time. On the assurance of mending its ways, the agency was allowed to resume operations.

On Saturday, some passengers who had purchased journey tickets from the agency, lodged a complaint with Railway Protection Force (RPF) here that they were made to pay more than the stipulated fare shown on the tickets. The RPF commandant Satya Prakash investigated the complaints and found substance in almost all of them.

He brought the matter to the notice of senior officers at the divisional headquarters of the Northern Railway, who in turn issued orders for indefinite suspension of the licence of the agency and directed it to stop sale of tickets forthwith.

Further investigation against the ticket agency was in progress, the officials said.



Assault: Scribes seek suspects’ arrest, threaten stir
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, July 6
Demanding immediate arrest of suspects booked for allegedly assaulting Jaswant Singh Sandhu, a news channel reporter, and family of Paramjit Kaur, a nurse in health department, the Punjab Union of Journalists has threatened to stage a protest in front of the Chief Minister’s residence at Chandigarh on July 10. The union has accused the police of shielding the suspects.

Sandhu, Paramjit Kaur and other members of her family were assaulted at Johlan village near here on Friday night.

Two of the suspects, along with their accomplice, were earlier arrested for allegedly attempting to murder another reporter of an English Daily. They were let free on bail later.

Denying allegations levelled against the police, SHO Gurdial Singh claimed that special teams had been raiding the hideouts of the suspects, but none of them could be nabbed. Though the Raekot police had registered two separate cases against Vinder Jit of Raekot, Jagmohan Singh alias Raju of Johlan, Jaspreet Singh Sumna, Kuldip Singh, Tarsem Singh and Lakhvir Singh Lakhi and about 10 other persons, no arrest was made till filing of this report.

Perusal of records revealed that the suspects had attacked Sandhu with an intention to stop him from shooting the aftermath of the attack on Paramjit Kaur and Nirbhai Singh’s house on Friday night. The couple and their three children were injured in the attack and household items were damaged.

Investigations further revealed that Raju and Tarsem Singh, along with their accomplice, were also booked for attempting to murder Parminder Singh Jattpuri, about two months ago. They were arrested and released on bail.

Though Sandhu and Jattpuri were confined to bed, they would accompany protesting activists on July 10, informed union office-bearers.



Dalit’s beating: Mazdoor Cong seeks MLA’s ouster
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 6
Activists of the All-India Safai Mazdoor Congress today protested against the beating up a Dalit by Fatehgarh Sahib MLA, Deedar Singh Bhatti.

Activists said this kind of behaviour was uncalled for and urged SAD leaders to seek Bhatti’s resignation. They even threatened to launch an agitation if the MLA refused to resign.

The activists led by Kala Hans stated that the MLA’s misbehaviour with Dalits of ward No. 14, Fatehgarh Sahib, had forced them to desert their houses out of fear. Later on, they also burnt an effigy of the Akali government at the Ghanta Ghar Chowk.



Hotmix association threatens stir
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 6
Hotmix plant owners yesterday threatened to boycott the tenders if the government failed to take supplies of coal tar in its hands so as to check steep price hike. Punjab Hotmix Plant Owners Association president Balwinder Singh said prices of coal tar were increasing after every fortnight.

“Hotmix plant owners are suffering huge losses due to continuous hike in its rates. The government should purchase coal tar and then supply the same as it had in earlier occasions,” he added.

Members of the association said if supplies were not controlled the association would boycott all tenders.



Naib tehsildar dead
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 6
Naib tehsildar Navdeep Singh Sidhu (36), posted at Jagraon, expired at Dayanand Hospital this morning following a brief illness. He is survived by his mother Manjit Kaur Sidhu, wife Manvir Kaur Sidhu, son Arman (8) and daughter Risham (5).

Sidhu was cremated at Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar H-block cremation ground, where his son Arman lit his pyre. Hundreds of friends and colleagues, including senior officers, tehsildars/ naib tehsildars, fellow employees, political leaders and representatives of various social, educational and religious organisations, bid adieu to Sidhu with moist eyes.

Sidhu had joined as naib tehsildar after the in-service death of his father Prof Lachhman Singh in 1996. He had served around half a dozen districts of the state.

Deputy commissioner Sumer Singh Gurjar expressed his deep sympathies with Sidhu’s family.



Demand for quota in college sparks off debate
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 6
A memorandum submitted by boys of SCD Government College to the deputy commissioner and principal of the college to reserve seats for them has generated an argument among educationists, students and parents.

Majority of boy students of the city feel that seats should be reserved for them as girls have Government College for Women whereas another section feels that way back in 1952, the college was changed into a co-educational institution and boys had no right on reservation.

Principal of SCD College Dr Malkiat Singh said in 1952, SCD College got affiliated as a co-educational institution. "It is still a coeducational institution. And the demand of boys to reserve seats for them is not justified. If girls are ahead that means they are more hardworking. Boys, instead of thinking of reservation, should start preparing themselves for healthy competition. There are all boys in courses like BCA, BCom and BA. Girls are dominating in postgraduate classes and medical and non-medical streams so the boys should not object to it," he said adding that the decision on reservation depended on the state government and not the college authorities.

Sarita, a student of SCD College, said boys in the college were so accommodating that they could not indulge in petty politics. She said it was a conspiracy against the college by other institutions. "A handful of leaders are there who want reservation, otherwise boys share a good equation with girl students," she added.

Meanwhile, the boys, in the memorandum, said there were 18 colleges for girls in Ludhiana whereas the former had just one college (SCD College) which had low fee structure as compared to other private institutions. Boys from rural background wanted to get admission in this particular college and here, too, girls dominated.

"Girls score well and preference is given to them and as a result, we all suffer. Admission should be denied to girls here. The boys have suffered in the past but now they should be given preference since it is a boys’ college," said Satinderbir Singh.

Through the deputy commissioner, the boys have sent copies of the memorandum to the Chief Minister, secretary, higher education, Chandigarh, Punjab education minister, secretary, Punjab Human Rights Commission, Chandigarh, and secretary, Students’ Welfare, Punjab and Chandigarh.



Medical camp for jail inmates
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 6
At least 60 persons were examined at an eye and dental check-up camp organised by the Lions Club in collaboration with Dr D.N.Kotnis Health and Education Centre at Boston Jail yesterday. Lion governor K.K. Verma, who urged the inmates to shun drugs, inaugurated the camp. Medicines were distributed free of cost.

Dental camp: Fourth mega dental check-up camp was organised by the Smile Care Centre here yesterday. Akali leader Manpreet Ayali inaugurated the camp. Computer-guided dental implant technique was also launched on the occasion.



Twenty20 Cricket
Peshawar XI lift Dosti Cup
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, July 6
Peshawar XI of Pakistan scored an emphatic win over India’s Punjab XI in the third and final match of the Dosti Cup Deaf and Dumb Twenty20 Cricket Tournament organised by the Punjab Deaf Federation being played at Punjab Agricultural University here today. Peshawar XI won by 46 runs.

In the earlier two matches played on July 2 at Amritsar, Peshawar XI had taken the lead while hosts squared it with a win at Jalandhar on July 4 and the visitors registered a comfortable victory here today to lift the cup.

Peshawar XI skipper, Ehsan Khan won the toss and opted to bat first and his decision proved to a perfect one as they went on to score 125 runs for the loss of six wickets in the stipulated 20 overs.

After making a cautious start, the middle order batsmen played sensibly to give a credible total. Nabeel topped the list by scoring 32 runs with the help of one four while Amir and Zubair contributed 17 runs each. Ashfaq made 19 runs and Shakeel faced just three deliveries to score 13 runs, including one four and a six.

For India’s Punjab XI, Munish took one wicket for 10 runs while Paramdeep claimed one for 20 and Surinder grabbed one for 27. India’s Punjab XI began their chase on a sedate note, which forced them to struggle at 27 for 5 after nine overs. Then Paramdeep played a heroic innings of 30 runs which included two sixes. However, other batsmen failed to put up any resistance as their essay ended at 79 runs in 18.2 overs.

Rohit made 13 while Deepak scored 6 runs. Kirandeep and Virender chipped in with five runs each. For the visitors, Fida scalped two victims for 7 runs while skipper, Ehsan Khan accounted for two wickets after conceding 11 runs and Shakeel captured one wicket for 4 runs.

Surinder Singh was declared the man of the tournament and received a cash prize of Rs 2,000 while man of the match awards were bagged by Shakeel for his outstanding bowling performance at Amritsar, Virender Singh of this contribution at Jalandhar and Nabeel for his batting display at Ludhiana. They pocketed cash prize of Rs 1,000 each.

Harish Rai Dhanda, chief parliamentary secretary, Punjab, distributed the prizes. The winners received a cash prize of Rs 31,000 besides a trophy.

Prem Gupta and Nakesh Garg, president and secretary, respectively, along with zone chairman, Lalit Gupta, Lions Club Greater, besides other members of the club were present during the prize distribution function.



P.C. Degra amateur bodybuilding panel chief
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, July 6
Former Mr World, Prem Chand Degra from Hoshiarpur, has been unanimously elected president of the Punjab Amateur Bodybuilding Association. Giving this information, Vicky Sharma of Ludhiana, newly- elected press secretary of the association said the new body had been formed for a period of four years during its annual general body meeting held at Ludhiana on Sunday.

The office-bearers of the new body are: patron-Manjit Singh Gill, president- Prem Chand Degra, honorary general secretary- Madan Lal Mahajan, treasurer- Charanjit Singh Channi, vice-chairman-Kapil Takiyar, vice-presidents- Brahm Dutt Bhanot and Navneet Singh, joint-secretary- Ranjit Pal, associate secretaries- Sukhdev Singh Sodhi and Gurinderjit Singh, organising secretaries- Dr Jarnail Bali and Sumit Chopra, press secretaries- Paramjit Rai, Amit Gupta and Vicky Sharma, coordinators- Sunil Pabla and Mohmmad Ramzan and executive committee members- Ram Sawal, Rajesh Kumar, Gurpreet Singh, Mohhamed Jamal Din, S. Bhardwaj, Raj Kumar, Satnam Singh, Surinder Malhotra, Iqbal Singh, Pardeep Kumar and Sunil Kumar.



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