L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Shopkeepers one up on MC
Sublet space in front of shops for thousands
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
In what may raise a question mark on the working of enforcement agencies, certain shopkeepers who have taken shops on rent for meagre sums in busy markets are subletting the front of their shops to kiosks for thousands of rupees, thereby leading to chaos on city roads.

While rehri-mafia is having a field day, commuters are having a nightmare on roads due to congestion. All this is happening while the municipal corporation prefers to sleep over the issue.

Investigations by The Tribune revealed that in all busy markets where every inch of land is worth lakhs, the shopkeepers were paying anything between Rs 100 and 500 to their landlords and were themselves subletting roadsides in front of their shops for whopping amounts.

This was leading to encroachment and traffic chaos even when the tehbazaari department was busy removing encroachments every now and then.

Though they were also accused of adopting a half-hearted approach to deal with encroachers, the latter were paying thousands to the mafia for staying put.

The practice was prevalent in Chaura Bazar, Partap Bazar, Ghanta Ghar chowk, Ghumar Mandi, Dandi Swami chowk, books market and other old and new bazaars.

The roads were dotted with kiosks selling knick-knacks. At several places, open restaurants were being run after setting up their paraphernalia by the roadsides.

“Since shopkeepers have taken shops on rent for over five decades, the rentals have not increased. But realising the value of space, they have sublet the space of the MC to earn money,” said Parminder Mehta, a Congress councillor, who has raised the issue on the floor of general house several times.

He added that the MC should rather accept money from encroachers and allow them to stay put.

“Instead of these shopkeepers subletting the space, why cannot we legalise these encroachments at some identified places and earn revenue?” he said.

Sources said in the Ghumar Mandi area said kiosk owners were paying Rs 100 every day. In other area, residents were subletting the front of their houses to vegetable vendors, eatable sellers and even washermen.


Doctor gets bail in PNDT case
Disappointed, health dept sends details to minister
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
There is resentment among the medical fraternity with Dr A.P.S. Gambhir, accused of violating the Medical Termination of Pregnancy and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Test Act, getting bail from the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Dr Gambhir was arrested in July while intending to abort a female foetus here. He was remanded in police custody. The district family welfare officer, Dr Reena Sandhu, said she had written to the SSP to give the health department details of the interrogation of Dr Gambhir. “It would help us work for the strict implementation of the PNDT Act which is widely violated despite the efforts of the health department,” she said.

She added that the department had sent the details of the case to the state health minister.

A four-member team of the health department had conducted a raid on a hospital to find a woman from Rurka Khurd, near Goraya, being readied for termination of pregnancy in the labour room.

The woman and her family told health officials that she had two daughters and had willingly come to the hospital for abortion after an ultrasound scan of the third pregnancy revealed that she was carrying a female foetus.

Dr A.P.S. Gambhir and Dr Jatinder Gambhir were not available for comments and the hospital staff stated that both were out of station.

Ludhiana, with a sex ratio of 878:1,000, has the worst male-female ratio. Raids conduced by the health department are of little consequence in the face of the guilty going scot free, she said.



Villagers back dowry accused
SSP Reorders Probe
Rakesh Gupta

Jagraon, November 4
The police party that had gone to arrest the accused in a dowry case felt the heat when the entire village stood in the support of the accused.

Paramjit Kaur, wife of Gurpreet Singh of Chakar village, now staying with her parents at Sowaddi Kalan village, had accused her in-laws of harassing and beating her up to get a car as dowry from her parents.

The DSP (H), Mukhtair Singh, after inquiring into the matter recommended an FIR against her in-laws. Subsequently, her husband Gurpreet Singh, father-in-law Karam Singh mother-in-law Charanjit Kaur, brother-in-law and sisters-in-law were booked.

When the police went to the village to arrest the accused, villagers stood by the accused and surrounded the police. They accused the police of favouring the complainant and alleged that the inquiry was biased.

When the situation became tense, more force had to be rushed in from Hathur, Sidhwan Bet and Jagraon Sadar to rescue the “captive” policemen.

The SSP (Ludhiana rural), Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, summoned the police and villagers and asked the SP(D) to probe the case again.



Protest rally by non-teaching staff today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
The non-teaching employees union of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) here is adamant on their stand of holding a rally against the authorities tomorrow. Though the office of the vice-chancellor had asked the eligible and interested candidates to fill the forms for the post of secretary to the VC, employees feel that the exercise was an eyewash to prevent the employees from holding protest tomorrow.

The proposed rally will be organised by employees to protest against the appointment of a teacher to the post of secretary to the VC and the letters issued by the latter to employees, refraining them from issuing statements or holding rallies on the campus.

According to sources, the employees interested for the post were asked to fill a form for the same. To assess their writing ability, they were asked to appear for a written test today at 11 am at VC’s committee room in Thapar Hall. Almost 18 candidates had filled the forms yesterday, but none of them appeared for the test. A candidate said, “We are experienced employees and are working here for the past 2-3 decades. Do we still need to prove our abilities? The test has never been conducted in previous times, why should we sit for the same?”

An office-bearer of the non-teaching employees union, on the condition of anonymity, said it was clearly mentioned in the form that “the position will remain open until a suitable candidate has been found”, which means the authorities were not interested to replace the present secretary for the time being. “They are trying to maintain peace, but we are against the move and will hold the protest tomorrow,” added the employee.



Woman dies for want of medicare
In-laws booked for dowry death
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
Hardeep Kaur (24) died as her in-laws allegedly refused to provide her timely medical assistance. She succumbed to her illness at the Civil Hospital this here morning.

Her father Sadhu Singh alleged that she was suffering from dengue and died as her in-laws refused to provide her medical care.

However, the cause of her illness could not be ascertained yet. The body has been sent for a postmortem.

“My elder daughter was pregnant and was visiting us. I decided to pick up Hardeep so both sisters could meet each other, but when I reached her house yesterday, I was shocked to see her condition. She could hardly move from the bed and said if I wanted to see her alive, I should take her away from here.”

Hardeep married Ravi Kumar, a resident of Tajpur road, three years ago. She has a daughter who is around two years old.

The victim’s father said she and her husband had strained relations and the panchayat had settled their dispute several times.

Her husband has been nabbed, but mother-in-law Kanta Rani managed to escape. The accused have been booked in connection with dowry death under Section 304-B, IPC.



Cop slaps youth; traffic blocked
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
Traffic came to a halt for more than an hour in front of Atam Nagar chowki in protest against the alleged assault on a youth by the chowki in charge here today.

Residents of Sunder Nagar blocked traffic when chowki in charge Sunil Kumar reportedly repeatedly slapped Shivam Sood.

Shivam had come along with his father Rajesh Kumar and other area residents after being summoned by the chowki in charge.

Tarlochan Singh, a resident, had complained that the father-son duo was harassing his physically challenged son.

Both parties were called to settle the issue, but the situation worsened when Sunil Kumar slapped Shivam in front of his father.

The residents raised slogans and blocked traffic for more than an hour. The agitation ended in a compromise following the intervention of the chief parliamentary secretary, Harish Rai Dhanda.



Torching of Youth
Police initiates process to identify facilitators
Accused still at large
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 4
The local police has initiated process to identify those persons who had facilitated a local family kill the paramour of their daughter after setting him afire three weeks ago.

The suspects include some political leaders, including those owing allegiance to the SAD.

The police has also sought the help of higher authorities in preventing the accused from fleeing out of country.

The police has started the process of identifying those who had been called by Kuldip Singh and his accomplices before setting afire Karan Sharma of local Jandali Road who had sneaked into his daughter’s room on the night of October 12.

The police has inferred that the suspects, besides hatching a conspiracy to kill the youth, had facilitated the accused by providing them shelter to evade arrest.

Kuldip Singh, his brother-in-law Jagdev Singh and nephew Karamjit Singh had allegedly absconded after assaulting and setting afire Karan Sharma on the fateful night.

The victim had entered their house to meet his minor beloved. He succumbed to his injuries two days after being assaulted.

Karan and the minor girl, who had an affair since their school days, had been warned against seeing one another. Karan was caught in the wee hours by her father Kuldip Singh.

Kuldip had called his relatives from Ludhiana and hit the youth with a sharp-edged weapon. When the youth resisted the attack, they sprinkled petrol on him and set him on fire.

While the victim, before dying had named Kuldip Singh, Jagdev Singh and Karamjit Singh for the fatal assault, the police has learned that the accused had called some persons to their house before setting the victim afire.

These persons, including some political leaders, had later facilitated the accused in fleeing the area.

The police has also obtained arrest warrants for the three accused.



Pvt buses bypass parking laws
Sheetal Chawla
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
Illegal and haphazard parking of buses outside the general bus stand has become a big irritant. The parking of buses on the main road opposite the bus stand not only poses a traffic hazard but also results in frequent accidents.

The buses generally belong to private operators who enjoy a political clout. The buses avoid going inside the bus stand and collect passengers from the main road before speeding away.

For any bus to enter the bus stand, it has to pay Rs 40 as parking fee. According to the rules, every bus is required to enter the bus stand and park in front of the designated points.

An official of the private company that has constructed the new bus stand, which has been leased out to for 10 years, on condition of anonymity alleged that private buses never entered the bus stand to evade the fee, causing financial loss to the company handling the bus stand.

Private buses are also seen parked in residential areas opposite the bus stand. Bus drivers and conductors sleep on rooftops of the buses, causing inconvenience to local people.

Officials of Punjab Roadways allege that the traffic police had connived with private bus operators and seldom checked unauthorised parking of buses.

The officials revealed that the district transport officer had challaned buses violating traffic rules many a time but to no avail.

Besides, bus drivers not only violate traffic rules opposite the bus stand but also fail to stop buses at fixed bus stops on main highways like Ferozepur road, Chandigarh road, Ambala road and Jalandhar road.



GNG students protest fee hike
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
Hundreds of students of Guru Nanak Girls College here protested against the management for the sudden increase in the fee structure in the form of various allowances while paying the second instalment.

The students alleged that the management not only increased the existing allowances, but added financial burden on them. Protesting against the “forced” fee structure, the students said they would not bow to the pressure tactics of the authorities.

At the time of protest when students gathered near the principal’s office, the guards bolted the main gates. The students were neither allowed to go out nor the outsiders were allowed the entry on the campus. Alka (name changed), a student of BA final year, said students were not bonded labourers. “There is a problem and we have every right to call our parents. They have locked the gates so that we cannot go out,” she said.

The guards misbehaved with a female journalist of a regional daily when she tried to enter the campus at the time of protest.

According to students, the management was asking them to pay extra allowances. The two-wheeler fee was increased from Rs 350-Rs 540 all of a sudden. A note was given to the medical and non-medical students in which they were asked to pay Rs 100, Rs 420 and Rs 630 extra, in addition to fee, giving no explanation for the increase.

The students of Home Science, Physical Education etc were asked to pay extra fees of Rs 460 per practical. Several other charges have also been levied on students of BA and BSc.

Ramanpreet Kaur, another student, said the college was constructing an auditorium. In order to get maximum share from students, the management had imposed these allowances. “But why should we bear their expenses? Some of us come from lower middle class families. Our parents cannot afford to pay the actual fees, paying extra is impossible,” she said.

Meanwhile, president of managing society Gurbir Sarna said they never locked the gates for students. And whatever they were charging was as per Panjab University guidelines, he said.



Seminar on Indian women writers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
A one-day UGC-sponsored national seminar on “Indian women writers: A feminine perspective” was organised by the English department of Khalsa College for women here today. Dr M.S. Kang, vice-chancellor of PAU, inaugurated the seminar by lighting the lamp along with Pritpal Singh Grewal, Dr S.S. Grewal, Dr N.K. Ghosh, Sarbrinder Kaur, Gurdish Singh and principal Varinder K. Thind.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Kang said the status of women had been undergoing a sea change all over the world in recent decades, particularly in India. He named some feminine novelists/ socialists who carved a niche for themselves like Arundhati Roy and Anita Desai. The seminar focussed on the feminine concerns of Indian women writers. The emphasis was on the change that had occurred in the interests of women writers due to the encounter between the South-Asian society and the West.

The keynote speaker, Dr N.K. Ghosh from Agra, said Indian women writers had made a significant contribution with their depiction of social realities and portrayal of feminine sensibilities.



PAU youth fest from tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
According to information provided by Dr Tejwant Singh, PAU director students welfare, the inter-college youth festival of Punjab Agricultural University will begin from November 6 and continue till November 19.

He said preparations for holding the festival had been completed and committees to handle different tasks had been formulated.

Dr Singh said on the inaugural day, a cultural procession comprising contingents from different constituent colleges of the PAU would start from the Museum of Rural Life of Punjab on the campus of College of Home Science.

The collage-making and cartooning events would take place on November 6. On-the-spot painting and poster making competitions would be held on November 7, while those for clay modelling and rangoli would be held on November 8.

Creative writing competition would be organised on November 10. Debate, elocution and extempore competitions would be held on November 11.

Poetic recitation and “haas ras” competitions would be held on November 12. All events would be organised at Students’ Home on the PAU campus.

The formal programme of inauguration, creative dances and folk songs would be organised in the open-air-theatre on November 17.

On November 18, activities of shabad gayan (solo and group), quiz, one-act play, mono acting, mime and mimicry would be organised.

On November 19, activities of classical dances, skits and folk dances would be held in the open-air theatre, followed by prize-distribution function.



Science exhibition concludes
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
The two-day science exhibition that kicked off at Ramgarhia Girls Senior Secondary School, Miller Ganj, concluded here today.

Results of various competitions were also declared today. Joseph School, Dhandra Road, lifted the quiz title whereas BCM Senior Secondary School was adjudged the best in chart making. As far as debate contest for teachers was concerned, SDP Senior Secondary School won the first prize.

Among those present were district science supervisor Pradeep Kapoor, Ashok Tandon, Sandeep Kumar, Paramjeet Singh and Manjit Singh.



Baba Bulle Shah Award for Gurbhajan Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
Eminent Punjabi poet and editor of PAU farm magazine, Changi Kheti, Gurbhajan Gill has been selected for literary honour “Baba Bulle Shah Poetry Award” by Copenhagen-based Asian Writers Association.

Gill has authored nine anthologies of Punjabi poetry — “Sheesha Jhooth Bolda Hai”, “Har Dhukhda Pind Mera Hai”, “Bol Mitti Diya Bawia”, “Agan Katha”, “Do Harf Rasidi”, “Dharti Naad”, “Man De Buhe Barian”, “Khair Panjan Panian Dee” and “Surakh Samundar” and an illustrated book “Camere Di Akh Boldi” on civic life highlighting social issues.

He has written on contemporary social vices especially the menace of female foeticide and drug abuse.

His poem “Lori” (quest for a lullaby) has been declared as a national poem by All India Radio, New Delhi, and has been translated into 22 Indian languages.

His latest book “Khair Panjan Panian Dee” (wellbeing of the five rivers) touches the universal Punjabi identity, fraternity and a peace order in South Asia.

Baba Bulle Shah Award has earlier been bestowed upon eminent litterateur internationally to Ram Lal (Indian Urdu short story writer), Niranjan Singh Noor (UK), Ravinder Ravi (Canada), Harbhajan Halwarvi (India), Dr Kulwant Kaur (India), Fakhar Zaman and Afzal Tauseef (both Pakistan), Dr Sutinder Singh Noor, Dr Surjit Patar, Kulwant Jagraon, Prof Kartar Singh Kalra, etc.



Akademi library a hit with scholars
Sheetal Chawla
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
The research library of the Punjabi Sahitya Akademi is a repository of the rich heritage of Punjab’s culture. It has a rare collection, besides books on Punjabi, English and Urdu literature.

It also has books on economics, sociology and Hindi, besides religious books. It also has the distinction of having Guru Granth Sahib’s manuscript of 1796. The man behind updating the library is Prem Singh Bajaj who took over in 1993 after he retired as principal of Lajpat Rai DAV College, Jagroan.

Bajaj comes to the library in the morning and remains there until evening. He says 34,000 books have been added to the library since 1993. Out of these, only 1,000 had been purchased and the remaining were donated.

Research scholars from Guru Nanak Dev University, Delhi University, Punjabi University, Panjab University and Meerut University, among others, often visit the library for research.

Scholars from universities of Japan, Poland, the US and Canada also visit the library. “We have PhD thesis of Pakistani scholars from Panjab University, Lahore, Multan and Bahawalpur in Shahmukhi Lipi (script),” he said. The akademi was established in 1954. In 1966, Dr S. Radhakrishnan, the then Vice-President of India, laid the foundation stone of the building, also known as Punjabi Bhawan.



Stress laid on saving energy
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 4
“Electricity is a precious and vital form of energy” was the bottom line of the inter-school paper reading contest on energy conservation held in Bhartiya Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School, Udham Singh Nagar, here today. The seminar was organised by the Punjab State Electricity Board.

The objective of the contest was to make both the students and people aware of different means in which electricity was used and the need of the hour to save it.

Chief guest Ramesh K. Khanna, assistant director of PSEB, stressed the need of saving electricity to increase the national productivity. The result of the contest is as follows:

1. Shivani, BVM, USN, 2. Parul, BVM, Kitchlu Nagar, 3. Bhavjot Kaur, BVM, Dugri.



Photos that exude emotions
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
A photo exhibition by Gurpreet Singh Virk, Rajesh Bhambi and Ravi Kasnojia was a treat for art lovers, who appreciated the plethora of human emotions exuded by the photographs.

Gurpreet, in one of his photographs, has tried to strike a balance between the joys of “languish life” and the “contemporary pace”. The hazy depiction of a girl unable to control her tears after being forced to kill her baby in the womb is a visual statement on foeticide.

“The standing Nihang on a racing horse is one of my favourite pictures as it inspires me to race against time and uphold myself as an artist after self-retrospection,” said Gurpreet.

An aerial photograph of apni mandi in BRS Nagar by Bhambi arrested the interest of onlookers as they compared it to a buzzing marketplace in Mumbai. But it was the rare shot of the Baddowal train massacre that touched the emotional chord of the visitors.

Ravi, the youngest among the three photographers, treated Ludhianavis to some light moments. Dancing diva on the floor of nails was indeed the photographer's catch. Sumedha, a teacher, said: “If poets have words to unravel the mysteries of the world, a genius photographer has the supple shots to hammer the truths.”



LBA accords hero’s welcome to Pranav
Won bronze at Youth Commonwealth Games
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, November 4
Ludhiana Badminton Academy (LBA) accorded a hero’s welcome to its trainee Pranav Chopra, who returned from Pune after bagging a bronze medal in the Youth Commonwealth Games.

Pranav was received at the Chandigarh airport where a large number of fans from the city welcomed him.

He was later brought to Shastri Hall, near Guru Nanak Stadium, Ludhiana, in a procession where V.M. Sharma, assistant commissioner, central excise, along with Pranav’s coach Mangat Rai Sharma and office-bearers of the LBA gave him a warm reception.

Chopra was also a member of India’s doubles team that won bronze medal in the World Youth Badminton Championship held in the last week of October at Pune.

Chief parliamentary secretary Harish Rai Dhanda honoured Chopra for his outstanding performance at Pune. A crystal trophy was presented to Chopra.

Pranav has been representing India for the past three years and has performed consistently. His achievement coincides with completion of two years of the LBA. The chief guest also inaugurated a photo gallery of international players Arun Dhand, former world veterans champion, Raj Kumar, junior Asian champion in doubles, and Pranav Chopra.

A designer T-shirt of the LBA was also released by Dhanda to commemorate the second anniversary of the academy.

Besides, cash prizes worth Rs 40,000 were distributed among upcoming players/coaches for their performance in 2007-’08.

A cash prize of Rs 3,000 was given to Muskan Suri of Malerkotla (best upcoming sub-junior player); Rs 3,000 to K. Badal of Malerkotla for winning the u-16 title in the Punjab State Badminton Championship; Rs 5,000 to Mayank Behl of Amritsar for being the best player of Punjab in the senior category; Rs 3,000 to academy’s assistant coach, Lakhwinder Singh Punnu; Rs 7,000 to Mangat Rai Sharma, LBA coach; Rs 5,000 to Ram Lakhan for winning the World Championship in the above 40 years’ age group; Rs 5,000 to Vijaydeep of Patiala for his services as specialised doubles coach of Indian badminton team; Rs 9,000 to six players of Punjab men’s team that won North Zone Championship.

Anupam Kumaria, honorary general secretary of LBA, thanked Dhanda for his support.



PSEB back with another round of power cuts
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, November 4
After a comfortable fortnight when the mercury had started to drop and drastic power cuts of six to seven hours all through the day were completely withdrawn, the power situation has again taken a turn for the worse.

In order to honour its commitment of returning power procured during paddy season from other states under the power banking agreement, with effect from November 1, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has reimposed power cuts ranging between two and half and three hours every day both on the urban and rural feeders in the state.

To make the matters worse, a 200 MW unit (No. 1) of Guru Gobind Singh Thermal power plant at Ropar tripped today due to boiler tube leakage.

The extent of damage was not known as yet and it might take anything from 36 hours to a couple of days to make the unit functional.

During the period the unit remains non-functional, the duration of power cut may have to be further increased, sources in the PSEB said.

While segregated power cuts during the day were in force for a day or two, an unannounced half-hour power cut imposed early in the morning today took the city residents by surprise.

With water supply also disrupted during the outage, scores of office-goers, school and college students and housewives had to face problems in carrying out their daily chores.

Pratibha Chawla, an officer with a private bank, like many other city residents, was sore at the imposition of an unscheduled power cuts in the morning. “The PSEB should give prior information about power cuts and exercise caution especially in the morning when students and employees have to get ready for their institutions or offices, and women have to cook breakfast and lunch tiffins, which becomes difficult if water supply is disrupted,” she said.



Amenities, services wanting at rly station
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, November 4
One of the busiest railway junctions in the Ferozepur division of the Northern Railway, Ludhiana — with some 120 mail and passenger trains passing through it daily, creating a passenger flow of around 25,000 and generating an annual revenue in excess of Rs 100 crore — is in a state of poor maintenance and upkeep. Amenities as well as services available to passengers are pitiable.

Even though the tracks and the railway compound are occasionally given a clean look, it happens only when an inspection by senior officials is to be carried out or a VIP is travelling by train.

But most of the times, vacant places all around the railway station, including parking bays and compound in front of the main entrance, are littered with garbage with safai workers hardly in sight.

Public utilities available at the railway station are inadequate and grossly disproportionate to passenger traffic, drinking water supply is erratic, and, at times, it is completely cut off at the behest of venders who could sell more bottled mineral water, if regular railway travellers are to be believed.

The cleanliness of toilets and urinals leaves much to be desired and a block of “use and pay” toilets proposed to be constructed to enhance the facilities is still to materialise.

The situation is no better at the railway platforms. For the past several months, there are just a few licenced porters, as a majority of them have been absorbed as railway gang men under a new policy of the railway ministry. The railways had initiated the process of recruitment of fresh porters, which is yet to be finalised.

Due to shortage of porters, those travelling with heavy luggage are put to great difficulty and it is not uncommon to come across people travelling with heavy luggage frantically looking for porters, or else making several rounds of the platforms themselves pushing and lugging their suitcases.

To add to the woes of railway passengers, licenced vendors have recently jacked up prices of eatables, soft drinks and other items being sold at railway platforms.

Says Ranbir Singal, a frequent traveller: “The prices of snacks and many other eatables have been raised by 20 to 50 per cent by the vendors. When confronted, the vendors plead that the licenses change hands twice or even thrice, in some cases, and they have no choice but to increase the prices to break even.

Railway officials said the sanitation work at the railway station was carried out by regular safai workers while cleaning of tracks was entrusted to contractors.

“There might be a bit of a problem due to some safai workers being on leave, but it will be taken care of.”



Protesters burn Thackeray’s effigy
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
Activists of the Ludhiana District Nationalist Youth Congress held a rally and burned an effigy of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray for issuing abusive statements against north Indians.

In a press note issued by the organisation, outfit’s district president Sanjay Sharma urged President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to put Thackeray behind bars and file a case of treason against him.

He asked the Centre to conduct a CBI probe against Thackeray and find out the forces lending a helping hand to him.

He said if Thackeray didn’t mend his ways, he would create problems for all Marathis who had been residing outside of Maharashtra.

Among others present were Pritam Singh, Rama, Sunny Dutta, Ajay Sachdeva and Surinder Saini.



Freedom fighter hurt in assault
Our Correspondent

Khamano, November 4
A freedom fighter, Pritam Singh (92), of nearby Sidhupur Kalan village was injured when he was attacked by a youth of the same village. The victim was admitted to the local civil hospital.

According to the victim, Jarmanjeet Singh, who is president of the SOI, Sanghol, hit him with a stick and rod on his legs and arms, resulting in severe injuries.

He was admitted to the local civil hospital. The freedom fighter has been honoured at block-level Independence Day and Republic Day celebrations.

Human Rights Organisation, Khamano block, president Mohinder Singh Kang has condemned the attack and demanded strict action against the accused.

When DSP Khamano Balwant Singh said it was a serious issue and action would be taken against the youth.

SMO Shashi Kant said though the freedom fighter had received severe injuries in the attack and his condition would be clear only after X-ray report, he was out of danger.



Awareness week by PNB
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
Under the guidelines of the Central Vigilance Commission of India, PNB is organising “Vigilance Awareness Week” from November 3 to 7 at its offices in Ludhiana circle by administering oath to its employees to combat corruption. S.K. Mohla, circle head, Ludhiana circle, administered oath to all employees of the integrated zonal office, Ludhiana, to provide quick and better services to customers, ensure effective, transparent and customer friendly functioning at various levels for accelerating growth of the PNB. K.K. Mohindroo, chief manager, V.K. Bhatia, chief manager, Sunil Soni, chief manager, and other senior officers were present.



Double whammy for candle makers
Prices of wax, paper go up
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
With the prices of wax and kerogated paper skyrocketing, candle manufacturers are in a fix as to how to sustain their trade. To add to their woes, authorised wax dealers indulge in black marketing, making things even more difficult for them.

With the sales dipping considerably over the past one year, many candle manufacturers in the district have been forced to shut their units and look for greener pastures. Says Ram Murti Mahendru, president, Punjab Candle Manufacturers Association, “Our sales have gone down by 50 per cent in the past one year due to the rise in the prices of wax. In addition to it, the rising costs of paper and cardboard used for packaging material and boxes has made things very difficult for us.”

A member of the association Jagdish Arora added, “Earlier the price of wax was Rs 57.25 per kg while now it costs somewhere around Rs 100. Within the past 3-4 month, the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has increased the prices by Rs 42 per kg. Prices of fuel have gone down in the past month due to the global economic meltdown, but the IOC has not reduced the prices of wax. We had earlier given representations to the SAD government, during its previous regime, regarding the problems being faced by candle manufacturers in the state, but to no avail.”

He added that the cost of kerogated paper had gone up from Rs 18 per kg to Rs 30. This was an added burden on them and as a result, the cost of the end product had to be increased, leading to a remarkable dip in the demand.

Chitwan Loomba, a wax dealer, said, “There has been a 100 per cent rise in the prices of wax in the past one year resulting in the fall of sales by 30 per cent. Even though the economic crisis prevails, the rates have come down by 10 per cent. But the candle manufacturers are not buying wax with the view that the prices may fall further. Our business has been badly affected.”

Besides, the authorised wax dealers of the IOC indulge in black marketing and favouritism. Says Loomba, “There are only 2-3 wax dealers of the IOC in the region. Due to their monopoly, they harass the candle manufacturers who are dependent on them for their supply of wax. They often indulge in black marketing and sell wax at higher price when the demand is high.”

Loomba adds that numerous letters to the IOC regarding the same have fallen on deaf ears. “We have even requested the IOC to appoint more dealers in the region for the convenience of candle manufacturers and traders, but to no avail.”



Body fished out of tubewell
Rakesh Gupta

Mullanpur Dakha, November 4
A badly decomposed body of a man was fished out of a tubewell at Chak Kalan village. The deceased is identified as Baljinder Singh, son of Sardara Singh of Chak Kalan village. Bhag Singh of Mullanpur, a cultivator, saw the body yesterday at around 8 am when he looked into the well as a stench was coming from there.

He informed about the body to Jagraj Singh, son of the deceased. Baljinder was missing since October 29 and after a thorough search the family informed the Dakha police. Hardev Singh, brother of the deceased, entered the well and identified the body of Baljinder. The well is on the backside of a liquor vend.

Jagraj suspected a foul play as the cycle of the deceased remained parked at the vend, however, nobody took notice of it for three days. Moreover, the “parna” -- a head covering cloth -- lay stacked on the iron stairs of the well. He said that though his father used to consume liquor, he never lost his consciousness.

Fingerprint experts squad left the place after clicking few photographs. The Dakha police initiated proceedings under Section 174 CrPC, even before the extraction of the body from the well. Hardev Singh stated that Baljinder had no enmity with anybody and might have fell in the well under the influence of liquor.

About 4 years back, a similar “accident” case turned into a murder case when the police reinvestigated on the complaint of the family members.



Assault victim succumbs to injuries
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, November 4
A man who was injured in an assault by two person on October 26 succumbed to his injuries today.

Satnam Singh of Abbupura village was injured when Bara Singh and Binder Singh of Sidhwan Bet village had assaulted him.

He was admitted to the local civil hospital on October 27. Today, when doctors were about to operate upon the victim, his condition deteriorated and was referred to the civil hospital, Ludhiana. He died on way his way to Ludhiana.

The Sidhwan Bet police has booked the accused under Sections 302, 323, 324 and 34, IPC.



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