L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Principal’s husband booked for molestation
Armed persons attack victim’s house
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
Molestation of a Class VIII student, allegedly by the husband of the principal of Sky Way Senior Secondary School yesterday, took an ugly turn when some armed persons attacked the house of the victim late last night.

In retaliation, the victim’s family, along with supporters, attacked the school this morning. They rued that last evening they had agreed not to press charges, yet they were threatened and attacked. They pelted the school with stones and broke windows.

The police said the girl’s parents had in a complaint alleged that the accused, Rakesh Sharma, had send goons at their house to threaten them.

Rakesh Sharma reportedly fled while his wife refused to talk to the media.

The family has now registered a complaint against the accused. Haibowal SHO Gurpreet Singh said the accused had been booked on molestation charge.

The incident took place yesterday when the girl was purchasing a map from a stationery store. Rakesh allegedly lured her to school, saying that she could get the maps from his children who lived on the first floor of the school.

She alleged that once she entered their house, Rakesh started molesting her and took her to a dark room. When he went to lock the door, she managed to escape from a side door.

Her father Ashwani Sharma and some neighbours complained against him, but fearing social embarrassment, they reached a compromise with the accused last night.

But this morning, the matter flared up as the accused sent some goons, who threatened to kill the victim’s brother.


Dowry death
Industrialist, kin booked
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
The Focal Point police has booked small-scale industrialist Hira Singh along with his parents and sister for alleged abetment to suicide of his wife Hardeep Kaur. The police said Hardeep had committed suicide by hanging herself from the roof.

On the complaint of her brother Harpreet Singh, the police has booked her husband Hira Singh, her father-in-law Kashmir Singh, mother-in-law Shanti and sister-in-law Mandeep Kaur.

The relatives of the deceased staged a protest at the civil hospital later in the evening alleging that the post-mortem examination was not carried out properly.

The police and the hospital staff managed to pacify them, reasoning that it was not possible to influence a board of three doctors constituted for the purpose.

Hardeep was married to Hira Singh of Baba Gajja colony 11 years ago. Both had a son and a daughter from the wedlock.

However, they had been having strained relations for the past four years and she was repeatedly being harassed for bringing more dowry.



Fearing political vendetta, panches on the run
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
Petty politics has made the life of a few newly-elected panches of Tuggal village in the Raikot block miserable. Two panches along with their supporters are literally on the run due to the fear of being implicated in false cases at the behest of a senior Akali leader.

Gurbax Singh, panch Harbans Singh and their 12 supporters, have not even dared to enter their village since June 12.The fear of being booked by the Raikot police in some flase cases is keeping them away from the village.

The Raikot police has, however, denied the allegations leveled against it. DSP Narinderpal Singh Ruby said he was not under any political pressure and cases were being registered against them after a thorough probe. They had attacked the panches of other party in the recently held civic elections.

It was a decade-old factionalism between the Badal and Tohra group that earned Gurbax Singh an enemy in the form of a senior Akali leader. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who was SAD supremo in 1996, had asked Gurbax Singh to support a SGPC candidate against another senior leader who was a loyalist of late Gurcharan Singh Tohra.

Later, Tohra and Badal buried the hatchet and this Akali leader had to suffer at the hands of this leader for supporting his opponent.

‘‘The police is working at the instance of that leader. It booked us under 107/ 151 of the CrPC on May 27, a day after panchayat elections.

Again, a case was imposed on me, my son and supporters under Section 452, 427, 323, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC for trespassing, causing injury and stealing an item on June 12.

We had gone to our opponents house only after their invitation and they got us booked instead,’’ said Gurbax Singh.

He alleged that the police had raised their hands stating they could not do anything as a senior leader was directing them to do so. ‘‘They do not want me to become sarpanch. Four panches out of seven are with me. Still they want to implicate me in cases so that I lose this chance,’’ said Gurbax Singh.

DSP Ruby, however, denied allegations leveled by Gurbax Singh.



Power crisis worsens, more cuts imminent
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, July 14
Even as the urban population in Punjab is reeling under drastic power cuts — ranging from six to eight hours every day — and farmers also decrying failure of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) to supply uninterrupted power for eight hours for paddy crop, the power situation seems to have taken a turn for the worse.

In the wake of a sudden spurt in the gap between the supply and demand of power in the state, the PSEB may be forced to increase the duration of power cuts in urban areas, where people may have to go without power for around 10 hours or even more if the state does not have widespread rains in the next few days.

Sources in the PSEB headquarters at Patiala said southern states, particularly Tamil Nadu, as also Maharashtra had made it clear to the PSEB that they were unable to honour the commitment to supply power under banking agreement from June 15 onward as they were themselves facing acute shortage of power.

The situation was said to be so bad that some of the southern states, who used to be power surplus during this period, were overdrawing power from the central grid to the tune of 2,000 MW per day.

The state was not drawing even its due share of power from the central grid as one unit each of Sangrauli and Rihand thermal power projects in Uttar Pradesh with 500 MW capacity each were still nonfunctional, sources revealed.

Information received by the PSEB in this regard indicated that the nonfunctional unit at Sangrauli was expected to resume generation on July 18 while the one at Rehand might become operational by tonight.

In Punjab, one unit of Lehra Mohabbat thermal project in Bathinda had again tripped causing a shortfall of 210 MW and efforts were on to put it back to work.

Sources maintained that if states like Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra backed out from their power banking agreements, the state was likely to face a gap of around 250 to 300 lakh units of power, which will call for increase in the duration of power cuts to urban feeders, as eight-hour power supply to the farm sector had to be made available at any cost for the paddy crop.



Gang of muggers busted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
A biker gang that was involved in mugging and creating terror among workers returning late at night from office has been busted with the police nabbing one of the gang members.

The police suspected that the gang members were drug addicts, but it was shocked to find that the accused, Manish, was employed at a salary of Rs 15,000 with a computer company here.

The police initially thought he was just a chain snatcher but after his arrest, several victims recognised him from his picture published in some

The youth robbed people by first seeking their help to fill petrol in his motorbike on isolated roads late at night. When his victims would stop to help him, he would strike at them with a screwdriver.

An employee with a hotel had fought back despite being hit by the accused. He had wounded the accused and both were taken to the DMCH. The victim did not press charges following the intervention of the parents of the accused.

The accused, however, continued to rob people.

Gurpreet Singh, SHO, Haibowal, said raids were on the nab his accomplices Gaurav Mehta and Raju. The three used to strike together or alone. The police had recovered several gold chains and three motorcycles from Manish alone.



Chahal case adjourned
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 14
Presiding officer of the Fast Track Court, Manjinder Singh, today adjourned the attempt-to- murder and land-grabbing case against Bharat Inder Singh Chahal, media adviser to former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh till September 22.

The case was adjourned in view of a High Court’s order. The Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked the trial court to adjourn the case after September 18, while hearing a revision petition filed by one of accused Kartar Singh Grewal.

The revision petition was filed following the dismissal of an application filed by Kartar Singh, in which he had sought court’s permission to place on record the judgments of a few cases in this case.

Chahal failed to appear in the court today, as he was to appear before the High Court in a contempt petition. The court exempted his from personal appearance for today.

The case was registered against Chahal and a few relatives of his at the Sadar police station on June 10, 2007, following the complaint lodged by Harchand Singh of Daad village. It was alleged in the FIR that Chahal along with his relatives had tried to murder and grab his land in Daad village.



Khanna bus stand in a shambles
Authorities ignore commuters’ woes
Tribune News Service

Khanna, July 14
Khanna bus stand is in shambles with potholed roads and lack of basic amenities. “About two months ago, a woman who was waiting for a bus under this dilapidated building sustained injuries when a fan fell on her. She was rushed to the local civil hospital with a fractured arm,” said Tarlok Singh, a private bus driver.

Buses hardly enter the bus stand as the passengers do not wait for buses inside the building. People are afraid to stand under the building as iron rods hang down from the ceiling and many of the electricity wires are exposed.

The daily commuters waiting for their buses revealed that a large number of buses outside the bus stand create chaos on the main road, leading to accidents every day.

The traffic police has already declared the area as accident prone. “Despite declaring it as an accident-prone area the authorities concerned have done nothing to improve the condition of this bus stand,” said Hardev Singh, a resident of the area.

He revealed that the problem increases during the rainy season as commuters had to wade through potholes and traffic jam.

Buses are always parked in haphazard manner without any check. Many elderly people have sustained minor injuries while catching a bus in the bus stand.

Demanding immediate attention, Suresh Kumar, along with a section of area residents, said the building had now become a den for the drug addicts where hardly any passenger enters.

He said the government should look into the matter to save the public property before it gets ruined. 



Computer teachers not paid for 3 months
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
After spending over Rs 2.50 lakh and five years on their education, around 7,500 contractual computer teachers are still struggling to arrange two square meals a day. These teachers have not been paid salary for the past three months.

Moreover, they allege that in order to get the salary of Rs 7,000 per month, they have to wake the babus from their slumber. They brave the rain and the sun to stage dharnas to get their salary.

These postgraduates of MSc IT/ MCA were recruited as computer teachers by the government three years ago on contract at various government schools across the state.

The condition of Ranjan and his wife Rachna is in utter despair. “We have not been paid salary for the past three months and things are getting worse with each passing day. We cannot ask our parents for monetary help as we are living separately,” they rued.

They have no other source of income, “We thought of taking a loan to keep things rolling, but for that too we need salary statements. If things don’t improve, the teachers would find better future in the private sector,” they added.

Most teachers thought they would be recruited as permanent employees at some point and therefore they did not leave their job.

Gurvinder Singh, president of Computer Teachers Union (contractual), Punjab, said: “During the time of assembly elections, the SAD and the BJP combine had promised the teachers to regularise them.”

“It has been over a year since the government has come into power but nothing has been done in this regard. The government has forgotten us, in spite of promising secure jobs for us in their election manifesto,” he added.

“It is ironic that a class IV employee is permanent with the department and receives more money than us. Even our peon draws more salary than the computer teachers who are postgraduate and working as contractual employees.”

Meanwhile, a delegation of the Computer Teachers Union (contractual), Punjab, handed over a memorandum to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal regarding their plight and demands.

The union demanded regularisation of computer teachers with the education department. They also sought their salary to be enhanced.

The CM has reportedly assured the teachers of ending their grievances soon.



Youth Akali Dal launches ‘Jiwan Daan’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
All-India Youth Akali Dal today launched a special programme “Jiwan Daan” envisaged to donate 51,000 units of blood by organizing camps in the state. The first camp of the series was organised here today.

Water supply and sanitation minister Bikram Singh Majithia inaugurated the camp organised by the District Youth Akali Dal, Ludhiana (Urban), in which more than 1,500 workers donated blood.

Majithia said that the Youth Akali Dal had announced this programme to mark 47th birthday of SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal.

The party also plans to plant 1 lakh shadow, ornamental and fruit trees. The campaign would be launched from Patiala.

Majithia also exhorted the youth to monitor the welfare and developmental programmes undertaken by the government in the state, so that the people could make maximum use of these schemes.

He added that the Chief Minister had directed officers of the civil and police administration to redress the grievances of the people. Addressing the function, Simranjit Singh Bains, president, District Youth Akali Dal (Urban), said the Youth Akali Dal would also work for the eradication of social evils, especially the prevalence of drugs and intoxicants among the youth. 



Bar assn holds blood donation camp
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 14
The District Bar Association and Region I of the Lions Club (District 321-F) jointly organised a blood donation camp at the district court complex here today.

District Bar Association’s president Parupkar Singh Ghumman,secretary Govind Puri, Harinder Narang, Kamaljyoti, Sanjay Vashisht, Lions Club Zone chairman J.K. Jain, Lions Club Ludhiana (Greater) president Prem Gupta and Lions Club Ludhiana (Goodwill) president Kulwant Singh also attended the camp. 



Contaminated Water
Residents stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
Residents of Jail Road in the Field Ganj area today staged a dharna to protest against contaminated potable water they had been receiving for the past few months. They also raised slogans against the municipal corporation for not heeding to their complaints.

Amarjeet Singh Madan, a resident, said they were forced to buy mineral water for drinking purposes.

The residents showed water samples to the municipal officials who promised to look into the matter and sort it out at the earliest. 



MCPI to mobilise public against nuclear deal
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 14
The Marxist Communist Party of India (MCPI), while strongly opposing the nuclear deal by the Congress-led UPA government with the USA, has called upon the Left and other parties to expose those who are bent upon joining hands with the US imperialism and damage the non-aligned foreign policy of the country.

The party’s state committee which met here today under Didar Singh,noted that the ruling alliance, with the help of mediapersons, owned by big business and corporate houses, had launched an aggressive campaign in favour of the nuclear deal. "The Central government is misleading the people about the deal which will yield a little.”

Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri, national general secretary of the party, who also attended the meeting, remarked that the deal was against the long-term interests of India. Calling upon the government to exercise caution while dealing with the USA, he said it was a historic fact that whichever country had sided with the imperialist forces, had to suffer. According to part’s state secretary Kuldip Singh, the party activists will hold district-level dharnas on July 21 to mobilise public opinion against the nuclear deal, price rise, inflation and dismal power situation.



Spare city your visits, Khangura to CM
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
In an emotional outburst against inconvenience caused to the public whenever Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal visited the city, Jasbir Singh Khangura, MLA from the adjoining Kila Raipur constituency, has asked him to “stay away from the city and spare them the complications caused by his presence”.

Khangura said Ludhiana was the geographic centre of Punjab, and the CM’s frequent visits to and through the city had become a burden on the people and the administration. “Your visit brings large parts of the city to a halt and people feel harassed”, he said.

Ludhianvis had patiently listened to the promises made by the CM regarding better roads, water supply, sanitation, power supply, airport, schools and hospitals, but “you have tested our patience to the full. Your visits are now viewed as a smokescreen to hide the failings of your government”, he said.

The CM talked of a metro for Ludhiana and people wonder who would use it, he said, adding that the CM had failed to notice the filth and poor drainage in the city. “We need commitment, not promises, that can be fulfilled within 12 months,” he said.



Congress begins signature campaign
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 14
Office-bearers of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Legal Cell today launched a signature campaign to create awareness about the features of the nuclear deal and garner support from masses. The campaign was launched at the insistence of the PPCC. Pamphlets were distributed among lawyers and general public. It was claimed that the nuclear deal, if fianlised, would not interfere with country’s nuclear programme for defence purposes.

Rather, the deal will fulfil all requirements in the field of renewable energy and help develop power sector for the purpose of electricity, defence, transport and space with cheaper expenses. India can develop strategic reserve of nuclear fuel to guard against any disruption of supply over the lifetime of its reactors.

The deal will overturn 30-year-old US ban on supply of nuclear fuel and technology to country implemented after India’s first nuclear test.



Bairagis plead for support to Centre
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 14
The All-India Bairagi Mahamandal yesterday made an plea to Punjabis to support the UPA government and Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on the nuclear deal while asking all nationalist members of parliament, including those from the SAD, to rise above political considerations and vote in favour of the deal.

National president of the body Krishan Kumar Bawa, while addressing a state-level meeting of the body here, observed that in the wake of acute shortage of power prevailing all over the country as also in the state of Punjab, nuclear energy remained the only alternative.

“The UPA government has sought adequate safeguards in the proposed nuclear deal which is evident from the draft of agreement submitted to International Atomic Energy Agency and there was no reason for any misgivings or apprehensions on this account,” he maintained.

The meeting reiterated the demand for a suitable piece of land from the state government for the construction of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Bhawan in the city. Through another resolution, the action of government in withdrawal of police security to Bawa was condemned, terming it as politically motivated.

A membership campaign for enrolment of members of the body was formally launched by Bawa.

Prominent among others present were chief patron Jagdev Singh Jassowal, state president Hari Das Bawa, Gurdev Singh Lapran, Amarjit Singh Tikka, Ravinder Nandi, Bikramjit Singh Rauni, Jiwan Das Bawa and Dr Rajinder Pal Singh Bairagi.



Downpour takes its toll on city roads
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
Heavy rains experienced in the city during the past one month have washed away large number of roads in the city and need immediate repair.

Water logging of roads, especially in the low-lying areas and subsequent traffic jams, have washed away the upper layers of bitumen. Roads like Damoria bridge road, Ghumar Mandi road and a few busy roads in residential areas have also developed craters.

The municipal corporation would have to spend lakhs of rupees in getting these roads recarpeted. Residents living near the Damoria Bridge said this happens every year during the monsoon.

They rued that the inappropriate drainage system had led to the flooding after a few shower. Being a very busy road, the wet layer of premix gets washed away frequently.

‘‘We are going to suffer again. We don’t know how long will it take to get it repaired now, ’’ said Prem Kumar, a resident.

Residents of Rajguru Nagar, BRS Nagar, Kitchlu Nagar, Dr Sham Singh Road, Ghumar Mandi and many other areas complained of potholes on roads in their areas. The scenario was bad in Basti Jodhewal also but the corporation did a patchwork on it just before the Chief Minister’s visit.

In Ambedkar Nagar, residents said the roads were converted into pools of water and the top layer was gone.

‘‘Things have come to such a passe that huge craters have been formed on our roads and have become perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes.’’ said Mahipal, another resident.



Orchards need extra care during monsoon, say experts
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
Orchards require proper care in rainy season as humidity and temperature in the prevailing weather is often favourable for the development of pests and diseases, feel PAU experts.

The season from mid-August to October is ideal for planting fruits like citrus, guava, mango, litchi, ber, papaya, amla, etc. However, during rainy season, extra care is needed to protect fruit orchards as pests and other diseases attack trees during monsoon when humidity levels are high.

Head, department of horticulture, Punjab Agricultural University, Dr Jasbir Singh Randhawa said in the rainy season, water stagnating around trees should be drained out otherwise leaves could turn yellow due to lack of oxygen.

“Heavy trees tilting in the wet soil should be countered by provided support. Trees as well as nurseries need to be provided protection against pests and diseases by following recommended measures,” said Dr Randhawa adding that pests requiring protection included leaf miner of citrus in nursery, flat head borer in peach, fruit fly in pear.

He added that diseases like anthracnose of guava and grapes, canker and scab of citrus, gummosis of peach, black leaf spots of pear, etc. should be prevented. He said growers could contact experts in their area as well as at PAU campus in case they required any technical advice or guidelines.

Dr Harminder Singh, another horticulturist, suggested that growers should procure fruit plants from reliable sources like PAU nurseries at Ludhiana, Abohar, Bathinda, Gurdaspur, Gangian and Bahadurgarh.

He emphasised that while obtaining plants from the nursery, growers should look for general vigour and health of plants and their freedom from disease blemishes, pest attack or injuries.

“In case of grafted plants, smoothness of the bud union should be looked for,” he said adding that 5 ml chlorpyriphos be added per pit to keep termite attack at bay.

The planting distance should be followed according to the PAU recommendation for different trees, he stressed.



Tribune Impact
Majithia assures help to baseball players
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 14
The prayers of five baseball players from Punjab, selected to represent India in the upcoming second edition of the Women World Baseball Series-2008 to be held from August 24 to 29 at Matsuyama, Japan, have finally been answered. And, they will not have to miss the flight due to financial constraints.

Taking action on a Tribune report, highlighting the plight of the players in its columns today, minister of public relation and environment Bikramjit Singh Majithia, has assured the players of taking up the matter with the sports minister and if the matter was not sorted out, then the Youth Akali Dal will bear the expenses of the girls.



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