L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Two factories gutted 
Material worth crores reduced to ashes 
Tribune News Service

VIP menace

The fire department had a tough situation on Monday as some of the personnel, including two drivers of fire engines, were busy with the CM security. These men were free from the VIP duty after 8 am when Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal left the city. By the time, the department was grappling to control fire at two different places for three long hours. The fire fighters said had it been controlled in the first hour, they could have saved material worth lakhs. 

Recent fire incidents

April 25 A paint godown on Gill Road
April 24 A textile unit on Rahon Road
April 22 Mini Textiles in Kidwai Nagar
April 19 A house on Dhandari-Lohara Road
April 18 Jhuggis in Kumkalan
April 14 A box factory in Shivpuri
April 13 A hosiery unit in Basant Vihar
April 9 House of a councillor in Bhamia
March 30 A godown in Basti Jodhewal
March 22 Perfect Dyeing near Cheema Chowk

Ludhiana, April 27
The staff-crunched fire department of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation was caught in a difficult situation with two fires incidents reported in the city today morning.

The limited manpower with the department today brought to fore the lackadaisical attitude of the Punjab government which has failed to recruit more fire personnel in Ludhiana fire department despite their repeated requests.

While the first fire incident was reported at MK Hosiery Private Limited at Focal Point Phase VIII at around 3 am, fire also broke out at Mukesh Udyog at Buddhewal at around 7 am.

Guards on duty in neighbouring units of MK Hosiery said: "The fire was noticed between 2.30 and 3 am and we immediately contacted the unit owner and the fire department was informed. Within a few minutes, the fire gutted machinery and material." They added the situation was completely out of control.

Officials of the unit said machinery and material worth Rs 10 crore was reduced to ashes in the fire.

Talking to The Tribune, the fire fighters revealed the unit was completely closed with walls and it was tough for them to enter the building. Besides, the unit had stored polyester and other inflammable material. It took more than 45 tankers of water and seven hours to douse the flames. Even one of the fire fighters got burn injuries and was rushed to the civil hospital.

While the fire department was busy fighting fire at the focal point unit, another fire was reported at Mukesh Udyog in Buddhewal. Due to shortage of manpower, the fire department from Ludhiana had to call fire tenders from Khanna and Samrala. The part of unit where fire took place had stored cotton bales which catch fire easily. The fire that broke out at around 7 am could be controlled by 11 am.

The unit owner, Krishan Gupta, revealed that material worth Rs 30-35 lakh was gutted. More than four fire tenders were pressed into service to douse the flames.

The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained. 


Fire dept understaffed, ill-equipped
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
The fire department in Ludhiana has a staff of only 75 persons, including senior officers, to cater to 35-lakh population of the city, courtesy the “indifferent” attitude of the state government and Ludhiana Municipal Corporation.

Despite repeated media reports and requests of fire officials, nothing has come their way for the past over two-and-a-half-year. Even the changing political regimes have not come to the rescue of the department which could not even go on strike fearing that innocent residents would be harassed.

Giving 12-hour duty for more than two years without any benefits or monetary assistance in the form of overtime, these fire fighters could not fight for their demands because of apathetic attitude of the politicians and the officials of the local bodies department.

The recruitment made to this department last time was in 1981 and since the number of employees has been reducing with the increasing population of industrial city like 
Ludhiana which is in a big mess.

“Our job is like that of a bonded labourer who does not even know when would he die working for his owner,” said one of the fire fighters. He added: “My kids have grown and I don’t even have time to meet them.”

Another fire fighter rued: “The seriousness of the government and officials could be gauged from the fact that they have told us that we could recruit staff only when someone among us dies and that would be on compassionate grounds.”

Interestingly, the fund-starved MC officials and the municipal councillors are ready to spend Rs 6 crore on fancy lights, which are of no use, but not to improve the fire department.

The working conditions for these fire fighters are also not satisfactory as they have to risk their lives during fire incidents in the absence of updated equipments. Despite losing their life in the fire incident, they don’t even have medical insurance.



Old-age home inmates to boycott poll
Lament hollow promises by successive govts
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 27
Elderly people deserted by their children in old age has become an election issue in this part of the state.

A large number of senior citizens of North India, who have been staying in old-age homes, have decided against voting in the Lok Sabha elections till the government undertakes the responsibility of ameliorating their lot.

The Supreme Court directive for children to look after their parents in their twilight years seems to have done them no help. Old people are too disappointed over the apathy of successive governments towards them.

Had the social and religious organisations not cared to give shelter to helpless senior citizens, they could have either been forced to live undignified lives at the mercy of their wards or perished by now.

Jalaur Singh of Dan Singh Wala village, who has been living at the old-age home being run by Gurdwara Karamsar Rara Sahib for over the past 10 years, dubbed successive governments as defunct which allegedly failed to take care of the old people deserted by their wards.

"Saaddi Sarkar Tan Aah Gurdwara hai jis ne sanun hun takk jiunde rakhia hoyia hai. Ate jad tuhadi os sarkar ne saddi sar nahi laini tan is dee chone bare kyon sochiye," sharply reacted Jalaur Singh when asked about his intention to cast his vote. (Our government is this gurdwara which has kept us alive till now. And when your government did not feel concerned about us, why should we think about casting vote?)

Pyara Singh of Dhanbad in Bihar and Gurcharan Singh of Kanpur in UP regretted that neither their wards nor the administration at their native places ever tried to enquire about them after they got stuck up in this state a few years ago. Gurcharan Singh appreciated the role of some social workers of Malerkotla town who had saved his life.

Sukhdarshan Kaur of Kila Hans village in Ludhiana district has been living in Biradh Ashram, after her husband was killed by terrorists 26 years ago. “No elected member or his supporter ever bothered to know how I lived a miserable life when terrorists used to threaten my husband and later killed him,” said an anguished Sukhdarshan Kaur. 



30 left in fray
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
Thirty candidates were left in the fray for the 15th Lok Sabha elections in the Ludhiana Parliamentary constituency, as three withdrew their nominations on the last day of withdrawal here today.

The three included two Independent candidates Charan Dass and Bhola Singh and the All-India Jan Samaj Party candidate, Lal Chand Rao. He withdrew his nomination in favour of Congress candidate Manish Tewari.

The candidates who were in fray included Shiv Sunder, Independent, Daljinder Singh, Independent, Kehar Singh of the BSP, Ajay Tandon, Independent, Manish Tiwari of the INC, Harish Kumar of the Rashtrawadi Sena, Sanjiv Kumar Atwal of the Democratic Bhartiya Samaj Party, Tehal Singh, Independent, Tulsi Ram Mishra of the Samajwadi Party, Harbans Singh, Independent, Jaspal Singh of the Bhartiya Gao Taj Dal, Gurcharan Singh Galib of the SAD, Chander Dev Singh, Independent, Laddu Shah of the Lok Priya Samaj Party, Gurdiner Singh Sood of the JK National Party, Surinder Singh Sodhi of the Lok Jan Shakti Party, Ravinder Kumar, Independent, Jasvir Singh Thethi, Independent, Rajesh Kumar, Independent, Girdhari Lal of the Lok Bhalai Party, Kunal, Independent, Shambu Kumar Singh, Independent, Vijay Kumar Goel, Independent, Gurcharan Singh, Independent, Sheikh Mukthiar, Independent, Ravinder Kumar, Independent, Rajesh Patel, Independent, Balbir Singh, Independent, Rajesh Gandhi, Independent and Surinder Pal, Independent.

Earlier, 48 candidates had filed 48 nomination papers. After the scrutiny, the nomination papers of 33 candidates were found correct and accepted. The DEO rejected papers of covering candidates of recognised parties.

They included Amarjit Singh, covering candidate of Kehar Singh of the BSP, Shamsher Alam, covering candidate of Tulsi Ram Mishra of the Samajwadi Party, Amarjit Kaur covering candidate of Gurcharan Singh Galib of the SAD and Amrit Tiwari covering candidate of Manish Tiwari of the Indian National Congress. The DEO also rejected nomination papers of Independents.



Residents stay indoors as mercury rises
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
With mercury hovering around 42 degrees celsius in the city, residents prefer to stay indoors during the peak working hours. Unbearable heat, along with dry spell, have added misery to their lives. The busy and congested roads in the city have started giving a deserted look due to the extreme weather conditions. 

The worst affected are the schoolgoing students, daily wagers/labourers and those commuting on two-wheelers.

Regular electricity supply seems to be the only favourable condition right now. It maybe due to the Lok Sabha elections or surplus power generation in the region that power cuts are not being inflicted in the district.

“Had there been no regular power supply, things would have turned from bad to worse. Being a shopkeeper, I can afford to be at my workplace during the peak noon hours but those who cannot avoid going out, have to face the hot wave,” said Pankaj Gupta, a shopkeeper at Ghumar Mandi.

Parents of schoolgoing children have also started requesting the authorities to reduce the working hours so that the students could get some relief.

Meenu Sharma, a parent, said the authorities should cut the school timings, if holidays were not possible. “A friend of my daughter fainted today due to the unbearable heat,” added Sharma.

Even doctors in the city have advised the residents to avoid direct exposure to sunlight.

They have stressed on the intake of juices and to avoid the consumption of roadside food.

“One should wear loose cotton clothes that covers the body properly,” suggested a doctor.



Pay panel flayed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
The Punjab State Ministerial Services Union announced here today formation of a high-powered committee to fight against the recommendation for the clerical grade by the Fifth Pay Commission.

Talking to The Tribune, the Punjab State Ministerial Services Union president Sukhwinder Singh said the pay panel commission had increased the qualification for the clerical posts. Earlier, it used to be 10th but now it is graduation along with 120 hours of computer training.

However, with the increase in education qualifications, they have not increased their pay scales, he said.

Ministerial services union president Sukhwinder Singh said: “The authorities have played a cruel joke on us by promising that they would take our words seriously."

Sukhwinder Singh further added if they were not given their dues, they would be forced to resort to agitation.



Voters spammed with poll SMSes 
Dealers of cell phone cos receive offers for supplying lists of subscribers 
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 27
This election, mobile phone users in this part of Malwa can expect to be spammed with SMSes to not merely vote for a particular candidate or a political party, but also to consider issues such as the recent Mumbai blasts and the Indo-US nuclear deal.

Dealers of various mobile phone companies have started receiving handsome offers from supporters of candidates for supplying phone numbers of subscribers from the areas falling under their constituencies.

Supporters of candidates of almost all political parties in Sangrur Lok Sabha constituency are all out to harness the all-pervasive mobile phone, apart from call centres and the Internet cafes to communicate simple “vote for” messages and to convey content that is core to the election agendas of these candidates.

“We are reviewing our SMS campaign from the content point of view. We want to provide election-related content like need of nuclear power for development of the nation," PCCC general secretary Rajnish Sharma said.

Some social organisations plan to use short text messaging services to remind voters of the polling date and timings, slogans of the party and names of its candidates.

Appeals through SMSes do not seem to be restricted to mobile users of the constituency only. "I request you to ask your friends and relatives in this area to support me, Vijender Singla, Congress nominee from Sangrur” reads the text of an SMS received by the mobile users of Ludhiana and Payal.

Another SMS in circulation describes pays and perks of MPs as burden on the nation’s exchequer.

Asserting that at least Rs 855 crore were spent on pay and perks of 534 MPs in one term, the message reads: "This is how all our tax money is swallowed.”

Cautioning people to votes carefully, a social activist, Jatinder Laddi, has sent a message to all phone numbers stored in his phone book.

"Ten terrorists came by boats to attack Mumbaikars, let none come through vote. Vote carefully, India's future is in your hands," reads the message. 



Degrees conferred on 850 students
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
The convocation ceremony of SCD Government College was organised here today. Dr Kanwarjit Singh, former DPI (colleges), Punjab, was the chief guest. Principal Dr Malkiat Singh presented the annual report, highlighting achievements of students and faculty. A total of 850 degrees were awarded to students.

Around 300 degrees were given to the post-graduate students from M.Com, M.Sc (maths), geography, economics, English, Hindi and Punjabi. Degrees were also conferred on 550 graduate students. Medals were presented to meritorious students.

Hapreet Singh (culture) was awarded the Sahir Order of Merit, the RL Aggarwal Gold Medal was given to Hardik Juneja (B.Sc topper), Anand Oberoi (B.Com topper) was awarded the Abhey Oswal Gold Medal. 

Anuradha and Aarti (MA Hindi I and II year toppers) were given the SK Vashisht Memorial Gold Medal award. The Surjit Singh Memorial Gold and cash award was given to Harkiran Kaur and Kanwaljit Kaur. The Olympian Jagdev Singh award was given to five students.



Corporate help in education sought

Ludhiana, April 27
Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Technical University Dr Rajneesh Arora released a book on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at Atam Vallabh Jain College, Hussainpura, recently.

The book contained research papers written by eminent authors from Pakistan, Bhutan, Canada and reputed institutions of India. Dr Arora stressed on the need of corporate help in technical education, especially in Punjab. He further emphasised on the need to impart skill-based knowledge apart from higher education.

Head of CSR centre KK Dhir also announced to start the publication of an ‘International Journal of CSR’.

President of the SAN Jain Education Board Ashwani Jain presided over the function. He said industry, academic institutions and media should work for the betterment of the society. — TNS



Bank branch shifted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
The Oriental Bank of Commerce shifted its Millerganj branch to 692, Industrial Area-B, Millerganj today. The new office has an ATM facility.

The branch was inaugurated by the bank’s regional head KC Vijayvargi, deputy general manager Harish K Batra, assistant general manager Vinod Sharma in the presence of Sandeep Aggarwal, president, Ludhiana Iron Steel Traders' Association, Yash Paul Gupta, national secretary, Bharat Vikas Parishad and Inderjeet Singh Makkar.

The bank's 15th ATM in the Ludhiana region was also inaugurated at its SME branch at Cheema Chowk, Ludhiana.



Cancer patient needs help
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
Anil Kumar (35), who is suffering from cancer, hails from a poor family in Jalandhar. He was brought to Christian Medical College and Hospital in a serious condition, where he was diagnosed with rectal Cancer.

Surgeons said the cancer could only be treated by an operation. But Anil had no funds to pay for his further treatment.

He is the only earning member in the family and it is impossible for him to bear the cost of treatment, which is close to Rs 1.5 lakh.

The hospital authorities, on behalf of Anil’s family, have appealed to the public and NGOs to come forward and help him financially.

People who are interested in helping him can send contribution to CMC Hospital, addressing it to MS Office, Christian Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, with “Treatment for Anil” written on the rear or on the covering letter.



City Mayor’s ward included in new constituency
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
The city Mayor's ward, Giaspura, has been included in the Fatehgarh Sahib parliamentary constituency after the delimitation process this time.

The area that has been ignored by various political parties and the Mayor, Hakam Singh, would have its representatives in Parliament from a constituency situated 100 km from Ludhiana.

‘‘Earlier there was still a chance that an elected representative would visit us from Ludhiana. But now, as our area falls under Ludhiana’s municipal limits, we will be represented from Fatehgarh Sahib. If we would have to meet our representative, we would have to travel all these kilometers,” said Pyare Lal, a resident of the area.

The city that boasts of flyovers, multiplexes and maximum number of luxury cars in the state, has a slum area in the form of Giaspura.

The area is characterised by huge piles of garbage, poor state of streets, puddles of water and a large number of migrants. Every year an outbreak of a waterborne disease is reported here. Many deaths are also reported. But no lessons are learnt.

Stench emanates from all around, flies and mosquitoes make it impossible for the visitors to breathe in open air. Still hundreds of residents are staying in the area.

“We elected the Mayor for solving our problems, but he failed to help us. He never paid heed to our sufferings,” said Jwala Ram, a migrant.

The residents had even knocked at the doors of the District Magistrate- cum-Deputy Commissioner. They had submitted a memorandum to him for the provision of basic amenities. 



Tewari reiterates his challenge to Galib
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
Congress candidate from Ludhiana parliamentary constituency Manish Tewari today reiterated his challenge to his main opponent Gurcharan Singh Galib of the SAD to prove that he ever raised a question in parliament during his 10-year stint.

Tewari said if Galib proves this, he would withdraw from the contest in his favour. Addressing a series of meetings, Tewari said the Congress gave ample opportunities to Galib to represent the people of Ludhiana.

“Sit and relax, that is what he did in Parliament for 10 years,” Tewari alleged, adding that he did not even participate in any discussion, not to speak of raising any question.

Addressing a public meeting at Basti Jodhewal, Tewari said: “You send your representatives to Parliament so that they can raise your problems there, seek relief and argue your case, but Galib preferred to maintain a golden silence”. He asked Galib to deny the fact that he kept quiet in Parliament for one full decade.

“Galib should have known that Parliament is a forum where you have to speak and argue and not watch others to speak as a mute spectator,” he said.

Reacting to the charges levelled by Galib against the Congress and his consistent appeal to the people that he deserved a graceful exit from politics, the national spokesperson of the Congress remarked: “Ten years in Parliament and five years in the Assembly should have been more than enough for Galib to serve the people, but he never did.” 



BJP opens three new offices
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
The BJP today opened three offices for poll canvassing of the SAD-BJP candidate, Gurcharan Singh Galib, from Ludhiana constituency.

The offices were inaugurated by chief parliamentary secretary Harish Rai Dhanda, Rajinder Bhandari, the BJP president, and Galib on the Hambran Road, Sham Nagar and BRS Nagar, respectively.

The leaders said the offices would help the BJP to help its alliance in campaigning from door-to-door.

Meanwhile, BJP leaders Prem Dugal and Surinder Singh Birdi arranged poll meetings in Atam Nagar today. Accusing the UPA government for recession, unemployment and inflation, the duo said the failure of government to check the rise in prices of essential commodities had made life of a common man miserable.

General secretary of Youth Akali Dal Baljit Singh Chhatwal along with other leaders met residents of Prem Nagar. He said the SAD-BJP alliance had worked hard for the development of Punjab and they should vote for the alignment.

Similarly, daughter-in-law of Galib went from door-to-door and urged residents of ward number 9 to vote in SAD’s favour.



Ludhiana constituency remains male bastion
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
With no woman candidate in the fray, the Ludhiana Parliamentary constituency continues to be a male bastion.

Out of the 33 candidates who filed their nominations for the elections, nobody is a woman. With three of them withdrawing their candidature today, around 30 male candidates are left in the fray.

In the Manchester of India, where woman do not like to be left behind, nobody filed the papers for the Lok Sabha seat. Unfortunately, none of the parties also gave ticket to a woman candidate.

Only two women had filed their nomination papers from Ludhiana, that too, as covering candidates. Congress candidate Manish Tewari’s mother Amrit Kaur Tewari and SAD candidate Gurcharan Singh Galib’s wife Amarjit Kaur Galib had filed their papers as the covering candidates, respectively. 

Their candidature was rejected after papers of their relatives were accepted.During previous elections also, there were no women cadidates. Since this constituency came into being in 1951, only two women candidates were given tickets by two parties. 

They included Rajinder Kaur Bulara, who contested in 1989 on the Shiromani Akali Dal (A) ticket and the Congress had given ticket to Late Chief Minister Beant Singh’s wife Jaswant Kaur in 1996. However, she was defeated by SAD candidate Amrik Singh Aliwal.

They are the only ones who contested from here and saw the elections for 14 times.

“During the Assembly and councillors’ elections there were a number of women,” woman councillor from Ludhiana Amrit Varsha Rampal said. 



BSP campaign from today
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 27
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati will launch the party election campaign for the Lok Sabha elections in Punjab tomorrow. The party will take out a rally at Grain Market near the Jalandhar bypass chowk.

General secretary of the state unit of the party Ramanjit Lally was present at the venue of the rally to check the final arrangements.

Lally said Mayawati would land in the city at around 1 pm on the PAU grounds and drive straight to the venue to address the rally. BSP state chief Avtar Singh Karimpuri and national general secretary Narinder Kashyap would also address the rally.

A pandal had been put up in the grain market, in an area of nearly 4.5 lakh square feet, as two lakh people were expected to attend the party rally, he added. Lally said the party had announced candidates for all 13 seats in Punjab. In accordance with the commitment of the BSP chief to create a "Sarv dharam samaj", the party had nominated candidates from all religions and communities.

He said, "Among our candidates, there are two Brahmins from Amritsar and Patiala, one Mahajan from Bathinda, one Rajput from Gurdaspur, one Muslim from Sangrur and a Jat Sikh from Ferozepur, while Dalits, including Addharmis, Scheduled Castes and backward classes have been fielded from other places in Punjab.”



SAD, BSP, Cong booked for defacing property
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, April 26
A poll observer, on visit to villages of the Ludhiana constituency, slapped cases on three major political parties for defacing government as well as private property.

The poll observer Mahammed Ariz Ahammed visited 15 villages of the Dakha assembly constituency and saw the election posters of candidates of SAD-BJP alliance (Gurcharan Singh Galib), BSP (Kehar Singh) and INC (Manish Tiwari) pasted on walls of panchayat buildings, bus-stops and on milestones at Pamali, Hassanpur and Gahour villages near here.

Some posters were pasted on private houses, and when inquired by the poll observer, the owners of the houses refused to have given permission to any party to paste posters and hang banners and flags on their buildings.

Taking cognisance of the offence, the poll observer immediately directed the the SDM (Ludhiana West), Prem Chand, DSP Dakha, Paramjit Singh Goraya and SHO Yogi Raj to book the offending parties. A case was then registered against all three offending parties, who have violated the code of conduct under sections of the Defacement of Property Act. 



Quack flourishes as health authorities look away
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
The district health authorities have failed to take action against a midwife (trained dai) who is illegally running a hospital and a drug store under the name of Dashmesh Charitable Hospital on the Barewal road, Ludhiana, thereby endangering the lives of hundreds of area residents.

Paramjit Kaur, a registered midwife who is only authorised to carry out normal deliveries, is openly providing “consultations” under the garb of being a medical practitioner to the illiterate migrant populace.

The Tribune reporter visited Dashmesh Charitable Hospital last week where Paramjit Kaur not only gave her paid consultation but also sold an ayurvedic formula, adding that it had been tried and tested on dozens of children and adults living in the area.

The reporter immediately brought the matter to the notice of district drug inspector Rajesh Suri, who refused to take action, saying, “It is a criminal offence and it falls under the jurisdiction of the area DSP.”

On the contrary, DSP Bhupinder Singh said they raided the hospitals/clinics/drug stores along with the district health authorities from time to time. “However, I will look into the matter and do my best in this regard,” the DSP said.

As the authorities are busy passing the buck, the quack is going on with her illegal medical practice and duping the illiterate populace.

Registering a complaint against the quack, an area resident said, “The midwife is also arranging a homoeopath in the evenings, but nobody is sure about his credentials. It is rather shocking that the health authorities are giving a free hand to such quacks and endangering the lives of people.” 



Scam alleged in coal supplies 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
If the statement of Deputy Speaker Satpal Gosain is to be believed, the state industry might face closure, as the coal supply meant to be distributed under the Tiny Consumer Quota Policy was sold by private players in the open market at a premium.

And a big chunk of the collected money is going to Naxal and Ulfa outfits to carry out their anti-national activities, claimed the Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Legislative Assembly.

Terming Prime Minister Manmohan Singh a weak prime ministerial candidate, Gosian held him responsible for the loss of around Rs 1,350 to the country’s exchequer.

Holding a press conference, Gosain claimed to have unearthed a scam under which the Ministry of Consumer Affairs directed the NCCF to allot the coal sale rights to private players like Pawan Coal Company.

He alleged that instead of distributing it to the state agencies, the private coal trader sold the coal in the open market at the rate of Rs 1500 PMT , due to which Coal India limited faced a loss of Rs 1350 crore.

He blamed the ruling Congress government for indulging in nepotism, as the owner of Pawan Coal Company is Congress leader Pawan Gupta, who has fought the assembly election from the Kanpur constituency.

Gosain alleged that when the state raised voice against the Centre’s decision, the ministry released 20 lakh tonnes of coal, which was further distributed to states like Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Goa, which are already coal producers.

This coal was also sold by another private player Mahalaxmi Group of Companies, which further sold it in the city market at Rs 3,000 PMT. He claimed that all this had been done in connivance with the Gogoi government in Assam and the Railway Ministry.

Despite a thorough probe by the CBI and recommendation of the registration of a case by CBI DSP D.S. Mann, no FIR had been registered against these companies.

As the state purchases 25,00,000 tonnes of coal every year, a big chunk of that purchase also goes to the Congress government at the Centre, alleged Gosain.

He said Dhandri railway station had become the hub of illegal coal agents and the money collected from here is directly sent to Delhi through Hawala. He appealed to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to order a probe into the matter in which the state Sales and Tax Department had suffered a loss of Rs 500 crore in the past six months.



Retail outlets’ closure
Owners of commercial units feel the pinch
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 27
With a view to countering the prevailing economic meltdown, the efforts of the marriage palace owners on the Shingar Cinema road to convert the area into a shopping street seem to have gone down the drain due to recession.

This small stretch of road, starting from Baba Than Singh Chowk to Shingar Cinema, alone has witnessed the closure of about 10 stores, including outlets of well-known retail chains, over the past couple of months.

Gagan Kumar, a leading property consultant who runs his consultancy in the area, said many marriage palace owners of the area, with a view to giving a boost to their sagging business, had converted and renovated their buildings to lend them out to retailers by spending huge amounts of money, but the latter closed down their shutters and left.

Harbans Lal, owner of Shagun Palace, who had converted the ground floor of his marriage palace into a shopping mall and leased it out to Reliance Fresh, said, “I have spent around Rs 10 lakh to Rs 15 lakh on the renovation of the marriage palace and rented it out to Reliance. However, the Reliance Fresh people locked up their stuff in the building, but have not turned up even after three months.”

He further said that since he had a lease contract with Reliance Fresh, he was unable to get the possession of the leased-out area till the contract expires.

“I had renovated my marriage palace into a commercial complex with a view to lifting my declining business, but the building has now become like a white elephant for me with no takers at all in the wake of the prevailing economic meltdown,” said another businessman of the area.

Same was the case with numerous other commercial building owners of the area who had leased or rented their premises to renowned business houses.

Most of the retail outlets, including banking establishments running operations in the area, have closed shop and wrapped up their business in no time.

Even the enterprises, which were planning to open their stores in the area, have shelved their plans.

“Banking institutes like Kotak Mahindra and Fullerton have also closed operations and left the premises from where they had been operating,” added Gagan.

He said among others who had wrapped up their business from the area, included retail outlets of More, Reliance, Subhiksha and Six10.

“Some like India Bulls, who were looking for premises here, have suddenly vanished,” he further added.

While property prices were already nose-diving, landlords of commercial establishments of the area were harassed with no takers for their premises even at the rent of Rs 25 per sq feet, which was earlier Rs 100 per sq feet. 



Feroz Khan was ‘real royal’ of Bollywood

In 1991, when I visited Bangalore with the Punjab Billiards and Snooker team as a team manager to participate in the National Billiards and Snookers’ Championship hosted by the Karnataka State Billiards Association, the only actor I knew was Feroz Khan. He was a snooker lover and the then vice-president of the association.

The team was led by former national champion Alok Kumar along with national players like Achint Verma, Sanjeev Vohra, Ashish Dhanda, Rishi Oswal and state president Deepak Mahindru. At that time, Punjab was considered to be an underdog in the sport. 

After the match was over, Feroz Khan invited the team to a dinner at his farmhouse. During the dinner, Feroz along with his son Fardeen Khan said they loved the Punjabi culture even though they could not understand the language. Feroz Khan further said he was fond of Sahir Ludhianvi and Shiv Kumar Batalvi.

On hearing the news of Feroz Khan’s sudden demise, I was instantly reminded of his graceful persona. Moreover, he was the ‘real royal’ of Hindi cinema.

Burrah! Canvassing picks up

Come elections as the beats of drums echo everywhere. As Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari went to file his papers at the Mini Secretariat recently, many drummers were seen beating the drums along.

Majority of them had been hired by former general secretary of the Punjab unit of the Bahujan Samaj Party Gurmail Singh Pahalwan who has now joined the Congress. While Tewari’s supporters had also arranged their drummers, others had been brought by Gurmail. A day later, it was the nomination time for SAD candidate Gurcharan Singh Galib who was accompanied by Punjab Chief Minister and others. Also, drummers were there to add euphoria to rallies of the Independent Candidates.

It seems that the ‘dholis’ have a gala time as they are earning easy bucks, even post the Baisakhi celebrations.

Staff crunch

The elite Sutlej Club here witnesses a huge rush of members on weekends. But this time, members were disappointed courtesy poor service of waiters and Captains on duty.

One of the members was seen arguing with a waiter for he was handed over the bill but was not served food. Due to staff crunch, there was an utter at the club. A member said, “When we are paying subscription every month, we should be given the best facilities too.”

Politicians eye migrant votes

As migrants are known for exercising lesser votes as compared to local voters, it has become one of the priorities of contesting candidates. The candidates of the Congress and the SAD are campaigning to woo the migrant voters but two migrants have joined in hoping that their community will support them.

Though it is yet to be seen whether the migrant candidates make it to the final round of the electoral battle or withdraw candidatures in favour of some party, efforts are being made to create a consensus so that the migrant votes should go to the party that stood by them.

‘Jugaad’ technique key

Anand Mahindra gained fame yet again for buying troubled Satyam. It reminds of Mahindra family, who are basically Ludhianvis as their ancestors used to live in Soodan Mohalla, Ludhiana.

A few years ago when Anand Mahindra was in Ludhiana to receive the Ludhiana Management Award for excellence, he said, he was proud of being a Ludhianvi. He disclosed the famous Mahindra brand was orginated in the city only. He revealed the Ludhianvis had a knack for organising and managing things in a way that is commonly termed as ‘jugaad’.

He further said the Ludhianvis were blessed with this technique as they would ensure that they succeed everywhere they try. The city wishes him a successful ‘jugaad’ for making the Satyam deal a success.

Save birds, say Ludhianvis

While people make their houses comfortable with various types of gadgets available, it becomes difficult for animals and birds to survive in this hot weather. Many birds die without water as they cannot find it anywhere, especially in cities. Moreover, temperature is rising everyday and it has become difficult for everybody to go out in this weather. Bird-lovers from Ludhiana have thus started an SMS campaign in favour of birds. They ask people to put water pots in balconies, windows and on terraces in order to save birds.

‘Bohemia’ magic enraptures all

Roger David better known as Bohemia is the star of the Generation Next. Schoolgoing children, youngsters etc all are fond oh his numbers. Known as “Desi Boy”, Bohemia loves singing Punjabi rap. He was recently in the city for the promotion of his new album “Da Rap Star”. When I got a call from a PR fellow to interview this singer, it took me a while to understand what he was talking about as I wondered what the Bohemia actually was. When I went to interview, I was amazed to see his fan following. Bohemia has his roots in Lahore, Pakistan and he dreams of visiting his grandfather’s land once.

Contributed by Rajesh Bhambi, Shivani Bhakoo, Manav Ghuman, Kuldip Bhatia and Kanchan Vasdev.



Truck hits bike, 11-yr-old dies
Our Correspondent

Raikot, April 27
A boy was killed on Saturday when his motorcycle was hit by a truck. The victim, Gurbir Singh (11), of Littar village was going to Raikot on his motor cycle (PB-10-CE-5950) with his uncle and cousins Hardeep Singh and Gurpreet Singh riding pillion.

A speeding truck (HR-37-A-2306) hit them near Tajpur village crushing Gurbir and seriously injuring the other three. The injured were taken to a private hospital at Raikot from where Gurbir Singh was referred to Ludhiana. He succumbed to his injuries there.

The Raikot police has registered a case under Sections 279, 304-A, 337 and 338 of the IPC against truck driver Harbans Singh Chamanda on the statement of Hardeep Singh. The accused, however, fled the accident site.



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