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EC dons crusader’s cap
Takes up grievances of residents
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 7
If you think the Election Commission is meant to keep an eye on candidates, poll expenditure and violation of code of conduct and mud-slinging by candidates, think again.

For, the commission is being urged upon to take action against encroachments, plying of auto-rickshaws on city roads, laying of roads, overstaying of teachers after retirement, taking over the reigns of religious places, maintenance of parks, several religious issue and civic problems besides poll-related complaints done by candidates against each other.

The commission has become a platform for redressal of outstanding grievances of city residents.

Most of the complaints received by the commission have nothing to do with issues falling within its purview. Still, residents are sending complaints to it and action is being taken.

Several complaints have been made against the Deputy Commissioner, the MC Commissioner and other senior officials of the district.

Former Commissioner Vikas Garg was even transferred from the city following a complaint by Congress nominee Manish Tewari.

“We like the rule of the commission rather than the government. The latter does not care, while the commission ensures action is being taken. I have been fighting against illegal plying of auto-rickshaws on roads for long. No action was taken. I sent a complaint to the commission and the entire government machinery swung into action. The plying was stopped at Alamgir Road for some days,” said JS Grewal, president of mini bus operators union.

“Had the state being run by the commission, we would have got justice every time. The elected representatives do not care. Because the commission does not care about the vote bank, so justice is being done,” added Grewal.

The complaint redressal cell in the local election office has received numerous complaints regarding shortage of water supply, poor condition of roads, construction of roads besides other issues.

Complaints are being received against officials right from the lowest level to the highest rung in various departments, admitted officials.

The complaints received by the commission are directed to the local election department, which further marks it to ADC Kuldeep Singh.

He has received 119 complaints so far out of which 83 have been sorted out and 36 are pending.

In these complaints, the ADC has sought replies from the departments concerned.

Locally also, he has received 75 complaints, out of which 42 have already been redressed. The rest would be taken care of shortly, said Kuldeep Singh.

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With 30 in fray, each booth to have 2 EVMs
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 7
The problem of plenty in this constituency has necessitated the use of two electronic voting machines (EVMs) at every polling booth.

An EVM is enough for only 16 candidates, hence, the district election office requires two EVMs that would be connected to cover 30 candidates who are in the fray in the constituency.

The district election office had a back-up of 2,282 EVMs, which were said to be sufficient. But when 33 candidates filed their nominations, officials thought they would need three EVMs at every booth. Later, three candidates withdrew their candidature, much to the relief of the authorities.

“We had earlier thought we would have to use ballot boxes at several places. We got them cleaned also. But the problem was sorted out as Hyderabad has now sent us 1,427 EVMs and we have a total of 3,709 EVMs now. We have 2,324 control units also. These would suffice for 1,328 polling stations in Ludhiana. This would ensure the smooth conduct of the elections,” an official at the election office said.

The EVMs were prepared under the eye of observers. These were then packed and would be sent to the polling station a day prior to the elections.

Meanwhile, as many as 12,000 employees of various government departments attended the rehearsal for the elections in the Ludhiana and Fatehgarh Sahib parliamentary constituencies.

Polling parties were also formed, each comprising a presiding officer and four polling officers. They were directed to report for the next rehearsal to take place at various places in 14 assembly constituencies in Ludhiana district. The third rehearsal would be held on May 10.

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Surrender of Arms
Police struggles with figures
Rakesh Gupta

Jagraon, May 7
The police has apparently no idea of the number of weapons in their respective areas. This is evident from the way the police has gone about impounding arms of civilians, keeping in view the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

To top it all, the list sent by the Deputy Commissioner’s office, Ludhiana, is confusing as it pertains to licences issued by December 31, 2007. The details of dead persons, sold arms and persons who have left the state with arms (with permission of DC) have also not been included.

The list has complicated the process of impounding weapons, said a senior police official on the condition of anonymity.

A fortnight ago, the local police had said they had only 646 weapons in their area but now they have raised the number to 900.

Ludhiana rural comprises seven police stations — Raikot, Sudhar, Dakha, Dehlon, Humbran, Sidhwan Bet and Jagraon and there are 5,451 licensed arms in the Jagraon police district. Out of these, 4,952 have been surrendered by the owners.

Sources said the Sidhwan Bet police had got 904 weapons out of 1,000 in its custody, while 21 weapons had been sold out by the owners. Another 35 licence holders were dead and 15 licence holders had been exempt from depositing the weapons as they were involved in security related jobs of banks, etc.

Similarly, the Dehlon police station had 640 deposited weapons out of 900, and 15 weapons that had been sold. Another 17 licence holders were dead and 16 were exempt from depositing their weapons.

The Dakha police station had 440 deposited weapons from 400 licence holders. They had no clear details of the weapons sold or licence holders who had died.

The Sudhar police station had 739 deposited weapons out of 750.

The Raikot police station had 830 deposited weapons out of 900, while the Humbran police station had 294 deposited weapons.

The Jagraon city police station had 351 deposited weapons and Jagraon Sadar had 762 deposited weapons.

SSP (Ludhiana rural) Gurpreet Singh Bhullar said he had instructed all SHOs of the Ludhiana rural police to furnish an undertaking that all arms in their area had been taken into custody and if any untoward incidence occurred, the onus would be on the SHO concerned.

He said the Ludhiana rural police was committed to its stand on getting the elections conducted free and fair.

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Voting Rights
Cops seek relief from personal appearance 
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 7
Enthusiasm for exercising their right to franchise through postal ballot paper seems to be fading among the Punjab police personnel due to the complex procedures and commitment towards the duty roster.

A large number of ballot papers received by the rank and file in this part of Malwa will remain undelivered due to obvious reasons.

With an intention to perform their duty diligently and use the right to exercise their franchise as well, the cops have urged the Election Commission to review condition of appearance before a designated officer and arrange that the signed ballot papers were collected from the place of their deployment.

Investigations by The Tribune revealed that a large number of cops posted at police stations of the area were finding it impractical to complete the process for casting their vote through the postal ballot papers.

Though prescribed forms and ballot papers were delivered to the cops at place of their posting, they have been asked to appear before a designated officer at Sangrur to complete the process of casting their vote. And this seems to be impractical for majority of the cops, as they have already been allotted a round-the-clock roster for election duties.

Perusal of record shows that all employees casting their vote through the postal ballot papers were supposed to get a declaration attested by a salaried magistrate. In case of members of a uniformed force, the declaration is be attested by a designated officer.

Sources revealed that an SP, posted at Sangrur has been authorised to attest forms pertaining to cops posted at various police stations of the district.

Though 1,300 cops of the district have been delivered postal ballot papers, it’s apprehended that only a fraction of the lot will be able to dispatch the document so as to reach the returning officer by 8 am on May 16, after which these would become defunct. 

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Blood Banks - III
Transfusion officers usually missing
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 7
Despite having been included under the Drug and Cosmetics Act, blood remains a neglected subjected where the inspection by the district health department is concerned. The officials concerned fail to check anomalies at private blood banks in the city.

In the absence of any checks and raids, some unauthorised blood banks are supplying expired and infected blood to hospitals.

The records of certain hospitals show that some people who were administered blood had become HIV positive.

Blood transfusion officers (BTOs) are usually missing from blood banks for long hours, which is a violation of the prescribed norms as no transaction can be carried out at the blood bank in the absence of a BTO.

The BTOs are working in more than one blood bank and leave the working to technicians who are not authorised to do so.

A large number of blood banks in the city ask patients to arrange for one unit of blood, which according to experts is uncalled for as the human body makes one unit of blood in maximum two days. The experts pointed out that it was just a way to make quick money in the name of blood loss.

Making an interesting reference to the practises carried out by blood banks, a voluntary blood donor said the parameters to adjudge the quality of blood of the donor differed from bank to bank.

“Some blood banks refuse to take the blood of a particular donor on the basis of his medical history while the other banks give a clean chit to the donor and readily take his/her blood,” the donor complained.

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Tricksters at it again
Rs 5.6 lakh stolen from trader’s car
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 7
After remaining “subdued” for almost four months, the gang of tricksters is active again. In a fresh incident, a member of the gang decamped with Rs 5.60 lakh from the car of a businessman while he was locking his shop last night.

The incident took place around 10 pm when the accused threw some cash near the car of Parveen Kumar. When Parveen’s brother got out of the car to pick up the cash, the accused took the bag from the car and fled.

Parveen, owner of a hardware shop, said he collected the cash from his shop and was going home with his brother. He had kept the bag on the rear seat of his car and went to lock the shop. When he returned, he found the bag missing and his brother Arvind was shouting that they had been robbed.

Arvind said he spotted the cash scattered on the road and alighted from the car to collect it. Just then, a youth riding a motorbike came and took the bag containing the cash.

A similar incident was reported on December 31 last year when the gang snatched Rs 6 lakh from a Barewal resident when he returning home after collecting cash from a bank.

The victim, Iqbal Singh, was sitting in the car while his son and nephew went inside the bank to complete some formalities.

In the meantime, three motorcycle-borne youths came close to his car and told him that some cash had fallen from the car.

When he opened the door to look outside, two youths overpowered him while the third got hold of the bag. They then fled.

The police has yet to make a breakthrough in the case.

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After DSP, ASI’s car stolen
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 7
After the theft of the official vehicle of DSP (traffic) Gurdeep Singh from his house four months ago, the vehicle of another traffic cop was stolen here today.

The theft took place this morning when ASI Swarn Singh parked his Maruti near Reliance Web World and was regulating traffic at Fountain Chowk.

He came to know about the theft when he went towards the spot where he had parked the car to fetch some documents and found it missing.

The police across the city was alerted about the incident. Officials, however, remained tightlipped about the theft that caused the department embarrassment.

A challan book, RC of another vehicle and a passbook were in the car.

Police sources said the theft of a police vehicle has raised concern in the wake of the elections.

The official vehicle of the DSP was stolen from his from his house. The theft of the wireless-enabled SUV with a blue beacon is still a riddle for the police department.

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At The Crossroads
Uzbek poet of diverse feelings

When strangers meet, they find language a big barrier. They try to get across to each other by gesticulating, but it is a difficult process. Still perseverance brings good results. Then even silence becomes communicative.

Uktamoy, the poetess from Uzbekistan, is in the city with the translation of her poems in English and Punjabi. The English translation, ‘My Heart is Weeping’, is by Professor Yuldosh, Doctor of Uzbek Philology, whereas the Punjabi version, “Sada ronda eiy dil, Mahia” is by Swarnjit Savi, a renowned poet and artist. Both these books were released in PAU, the other day, by Vice-Chancellor Manjit Singh Kang. The select audience welcomed the demure but resolute poetess.

The poems which have come to us from Uzbek to English as well as Punjabi have an exotic flavour. Still these are very close to our own sensibilities. In our folksongs we find girls shedding tears of joy as well as of sorrow. Meeting and separation are the two motifs that dominate the fabric of our cultural heritage. A smile tinged with tears in the eyes has an appeal of its own.

Uktamoy, indeed, conveys her thoughts and feelings through the universal language of tears. Intrinsically, she is a poet of nature and her forte is its personification in accordance with her own volatile moods. The impact on the mind of the reader is both instantaneous and everlasting. Some of the quotations from different poems will confirm my point of view ---

‘In my eyes the rain weeps’. ‘The fallen leaves are weeping from sadness’. ‘My blood tears turned into a flower’. ‘We swam in the tears of eyes like a river’. ‘My heart keeps weeping like a lark’. ‘Into my heart a river is flowing’. ‘I would weep hanging on the neck of the willow’.

In an interview she told me that she comes from Namangan (Uzbekistan), a place 3 km away from Axikent where Zahiruddin Babar was born. Babar did not know any language other than Turkish, in which he later composed ‘Tuzuk-e-Babari’. On her part, besides her native language Uzbek, Uktamoy is also fully conversant with the Turkish language. For several years she has worked as Uzbekistan TV anchor. Presently she works as a Deputy Chief Editor for the journal “Agriculture of Uzbekistan” in Tashkent city. She has been a member of Uzbekistan Writers Association since 1991. She is the author of seven collection of poems.

Uktamoy makes use of abstract expressions to give concrete forms to her feelings. She shows unknown features of well-known things. She depicts diverse feelings of people in her poems. Her imagery is captivating and the symbols she uses are emotive. In some of her poems, spiritual development emerges from mundane experiences. Indeed she draws deep conclusions from the tortures she has suffered. The end result is wisdom of the heart.

Her poems indicate ‘the mild mutiny of the anxious heart’.

Prof Yuldosh is of the view that Uktamoy thinks mildly, is hurt mildly and suffers mildly. She rises mildly, expresses rough feelings mildly. Her lines contain a lot of mild symbols.

Indeed mildness is a part of her nature. When she recites her poems, her tone is mild. In fact there is musicality in her poetic renderings.

The tenderness of her feelings and the complexity of her ideas vie with each other to make an impact on the mind of the listener. At that times language seems to be an extraneous thing as the voice dominates over the senses.

Still one cannot help recalling William Wordsworth (daffodil was his favourite flower, while tulip is Uktamoy’s), when he says —

Will no one tell me what she sings?

Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow,

For old, unhappy, far-off things,

And battles long ago.

— NS Tasneem

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No service tax on lottery tickets 
Dealers feel elated over SC’s ruling 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 7
With the Supreme Court directing that no service tax will be levied on the sale, promotion and marketing of the lottery tickets, its dealers in the city are an elated lot.

“The Supreme Court ruling has come as a major relief and has lifted a big burden from our shoulders,” said Pawan of Abbott Lottery Agency.

He further said since the imposition of service tax on the sale of lottery tickets, there was a widespread fear among the traders that their sales would be badly affected.

“As it is, the recession has hit our business badly, and service tax was an added burden. Now the sales would surely pick up,” Ashu Kalra, a local lottery trader.

Shyam Bhanot, another lottery dealer, said: “Our trade does not come under the category on which service tax can be levied but the government had imposed it a few years ago. However, with the apex court granting exemption, things will look better.”

Ever since the imposition of 30 per cent service tax by the government on the sale of lottery tickets a few years ago, the lottery traders refused to give the tax and instead knocked at the apex court’s door for exemption from it.

The lottery agents buy tickets in bulk and sell them to their principal stockiest. They make a profit out of the difference between the amounts received from the principal stockiest and the amounts paid to the state government. The principal stockiest subsequently sell the tickets to sub-stockiest who in turn sell to their agents. The entire transaction is governed by the Lottery (Regulation) Act, 1998.

According to a Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) circular issued on January 14, 2007, the nature of transactions between the distributor and the state government does not constitute a sale.

However, the government said the activities of the distributor were that of promotion or marketing of lottery tickets for their client i.e. the state governments and, thus, would be eligible for service tax.

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Passengers harried over anomaly in reservation
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, May 7
When Dr KK Sharma, a retired senior horticulturist and a resident of New Maya Nagar locality in the city, boarded Hemkunt Express on a confirmed sleeper reservation ticket for a trip to Haridwar earlier this week, little did he realise that his journey would turn out to be a virtual nightmare.

The passenger, travelling with his wife and another family members, was not only forcibly removed from his assigned lower berth and made to shift to an upper berth but also humiliated and threatened by the conductor of the coach.

The journey-cum-reservation ticket issued to Dr Sharma showed that three passengers travelling from Ludhiana to Haridwar were allotted 9 (lower berth), 10 (middle berth) and 12 (lower berth). The train had barely left Ludhiana when the conductor of the sleeper coach told Dr Sharma and his family members to shift to the upper berths.

To the utter dismay of the passengers, the berths 9 and 12 in the coach were upper berths.

When the passengers pointed out that they had been allotted lower berths for being senior citizens, the conductor called a policemen and threatened to have the journey ticket cancelled.

Enquiries made by The Tribune revealed that new sleeper coaches introduced by the railways for enhancement of capacity in some of the trains have 81 berths, as against 72 in the earlier version of sleeper coaches.

As against two berths along the aisle in the older coaches, the new coaches have three berths along the aisle, with the result that the entire sequence of lower, middle and upper berths changes.

However, with the computer software used by the railway staff for reservation not being updated and no information being made available on what kind of sleeper coaches a train will have on a particular date, journey-cum-reservation tickets were being issued as per the sequence of old coaches.

The railway officials dealing with reservation told The Tribune that new sleeper coaches (with 81 berths) were being put to certain trains without any advance information.

Moreover, the data fed to the software being used for reservation purposes said that the sleeper coach had 72 berths and reservations were made accordingly.

Maintaining that the conductors of sleeper coaches ought to be humane and receptive to the problems of passengers, the officials stated that since reservations were made for 72 berths even in the new version of coaches, nine berths went vacant in such cases.

“It should not be difficult for the railway staff to accommodate senior citizens and other deserving passengers as per their convenience on vacant berths and make fresh allotment thereafter.”

Sources at the divisional railway headquarters said the matter had been taken up with the Northern Railway headquarters at Delhi for necessary remedial action.

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Partial compliance of District Magistrate’s orders 
Admn to act tough against violators 
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 7
Taking cognizance of the partial compliance of orders promulgated under Section 144 of the Cr.PC by the Ludhiana District Magistrate in view of the model code of conduct, the district administration has warned to take action against those violating the orders.

While landlords and employers, failing to inform the authorities about antecedents of their tenants and employees, would be booked for violating provisions of the law under Section 188 of the Cr.PC, cancellation of licenses of these persons would be recommended who failed to deposit their arms at police stations in their respective areas.

Move was restarted after the Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner promulgated fresh orders directing the authorities concerned to make all license holders to deposit their weapons either at some gun house or police station of their respective areas.

Confusion had prevailed after the former deputy commissioner had announced that only anti-social elements were supposed to deposit their weapons with the police. This was probably one of the factors leading to his transfer by the election commission a few days ago.

Despite the administration’s repeated appeal to the landlords and employers for providing complete information about their tenants and employees, only a few have bothered to cooperate with the authorities so far. Similarly only a fraction of holders of arms licenses had deposited their weapons at their respective police stations.

As politicians and VIPs were mostly holding the arms licence, the police was finding it hard to force them to deposit the same at some gun house or at the police stations. In some cases complete addresses of the holders were not available with the local authorities.

Showing concern over this tendency, Khanna SSP, SS Mann, directed the circle officers of his area to undertake massive campaign for persuading the residents to comply with orders being promulgated by the district magistrate from time to time.

Payal DSP Anil Joshi said SHO Varinder Jit Singh had deputed beat officers for ensuring complete compliance of the orders in their respective areas.

“Though it’s the duty of the residents to follow directions of the election commission we have directed our officials to persuade them (residents) to cooperate. We will initiate action against those who violated norms willfully,” said Joshi adding that the cancellation of arms licenses of those would be recommended who didn’t obey the orders.

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Quota, industry top  Ramgarhia’s agenda
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 7
Kehar Singh Ramgarhia, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate from Ludhiana, has fortified his campaign by launching door-to-door canvassing to lure voters in the urban as well as rural areas.

Projecting the “newfound party ideology”, Kehar Singh said the party’s decision to give 10 per cent reservation to the economically weaker sections in upper classes was a progressive step for contemporary India.

Industrialists are not getting electricity and the industry is moving out of Punjab, which points towards the “insensitivity” of the SAD/BJP government in the state, said Kehar Singh.

“The need of the hour is to help sick industrial units, as a lot of industry has already moved out of Punjab, which means loss of jobs for thousands of poor workers. The BSP is committed to the cause of the working class through industrial growth,” the candidate went on to add.

The BSP candidate referred to the BPL card scheme in Punjab as “eyewash” adding that survey established 70 lakh people living under the BPL out of which only 13 beneficiary cards were made.

Accusing the SAD-BJP government of having duped the needy, he said: “It is more shocking that more than 3 lakh cards are fake, which leaves no hope for the poor in Punjab.”

Holding the SAD-BJP responsible for deteriorating standards of education and healthcare services in the state, the candidate said these two issues were directly related to the uplift of the Dalits and Other Backward Classes.

The track record of the past parliamentarians from the SAD, the BJP and the Congress was not satisfactory, he said. On the contrary, they had failed to take up the real issues concerning the rural or urban populace, Kehar Singh stated.

“I have heard about approval to Shastri Nagar overbridge and also bridges on the canal. We shall pursue the matter at the highest level.”

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Galib builds bridges to woo voters
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 7
Gurcharan Singh Galib, Shiromani Akali Dal candidate in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, has picked railway overbridges at different level crossings in the city as his top priority work if he is elected to Parliament.

Talking to The Tribune at the railway crossing near Pakhowal Road here today, Galib said: “Motorists stuck at level crossings face a lot of inconvenience. The rising summer temperatures are no respite. Crawling traffic in long queues means a lot of time wastage.”

He quipped: “Certain important level crossings that need an overbridge include Shastri Nagar and Model Gram. There are at least three along the Sidhwan canal.”

He added: “I have heard about approval about Shastri Nagar overbridge and also the bridges on the canal. We shall pursue the matter at the highest level.”

Galib addressed a series of functions in the city today, including Sarabha Nagar and Ghumar Mandi. The BJP rally in favour of Galib on May 10 will feature LK Advani, the prime ministerial candidate, party president Rajnath Singh and various chief ministers of NDA-ruled states.

Galib got a shot in the arm today when people from Purvaanchal living here decided to vote for him.

Spokesperson for the group Vakil Chaudhari said they had over one lakh votes in the city.

Also, the All-India Batwal Community Welfare Association has decided to support the SAD-BJP candidate.

Stating this, association vice-president Om Parkash Kainth said the decision had been taken at a meeting of the association held at Jawahar Nagar.

Tourism minister Hira Singh Gabaria, addressing an election meeting organised by Balbir Singh Mankoo and Rajinder Singh Bajwa in ward No. 66, said Punjab’s interests were safe in the hands of the SAD-BJP combine. The Congress had always given Punjab a raw deal, he added.

The meeting was also addressed by Galib. He appealed to the voters to vote for him on the plea that he had been serving them for the past 50 years.

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Second rehearsal concludes 
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 7
The second rehearsal of the staff put on poll duty in connection with the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections was conducted under the supervision of assistant election returning officers at Payal, Samrala and Raikot subdivisions.

Nearly 2,000 officials from various government and public sector undertakings attended the rehearsal.

Members of about 400 polling parties, each constituting one presiding officer and four polling officers, were directed to report for the next rehearsal scheduled to take place at various places in 14 assembly constituencies in the Ludhiana district.

The third rehearsal would be held on May 10 instead of May 9, informed the authorities. All the officials who attended the training programme gave in writing that they were well-versed with the functioning of EVMs and the procedure of conducting polls. Notices were issued to those who were found absent during the rehearsal.

Sukhdev Singh Mahal, SDM, Samrala, supervised the second rehearsal at Samrala today. About 600 presiding officers and polling officers were imparted training here. 

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20 polling booths sensitive

Khanna, May 7
About 44 polling stations have been constituted in the Machhiwara block for voters of 107 villages and a few urban areas.

The police has already declared 20 polling stations sensitive, especially the one at Ratipur village.Police officials said extra security forces had been deployed to manage the polling process. — TNS

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Youth Cong chief’s arrest draws flak
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 7
Former state chairman of the legal cell of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee PD Sharma, district chairman Dharamjit Singh Khera, convener Ashok Bhakri, District Bar Association secretary Kamaljit Sharma, former secretary Rajneesh Gupta and Ramesh Lakhanpal criticised the police for booking District Youth Congress president Dimple Rana and other Congress workers in false cases.

The lawyers said the police was acting at the behest of the SAD-BJP government.

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Mafia reports to CM, alleges Tewari
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 7
Congress candidate Manish Tewari today alleged that sand mafia, liquor mafia, cable mafia and bus mafia had direct access to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Singh Badal.

He alleged that the state was virtually being ruled by “Badal and Co. Pvt Ltd”. He asked why everytime during the elections, the Akalis raked Panthic issues. The Akali-BJP government had no issue of public interest in these elections and it only wanted to come to power by misleading people and exploiting their sentiments on religious issues.

Tewari was addressing public meetings at Partap Singh Wala, Ladhowal and Rasulpur villages. He also inaugurated his election office at Partap Singh Wala.

At a rally held at Shimlapuri last evening, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, leader of the opposition in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, said: “The public mood for a change in Punjab government was evident today. The public is fed up with the lack of public welfare policies of the SAD.”

Jassi Khangura, Kila Raipur MLA, addressed several public meetings in support of Tewari at various villages.

A press note claimed that SAD leader Charanjeet Kaur, LBP leader Baljinder Singh, LJP state general secretary Kartar singh Patna, district president Maninderpal Singh Teetu, Simratpal Singh Soni, Ramesh Sood, Amandeep Singh Palli and Jaspal Khurana had embraced the Congress.

These leaders expressed their resentment over the “anti-people” policies of their respective parties.

Tewari said during the municipal elections, while assessing the capability of councillors and former councillors, their performance during these parliamentary elections would be considered.

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Farmers’ body condemns politicians
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, May 7
The Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta), Punjab, today refuted the claims of development made by all political parties.

Nirmal Singh Bhumal, district president of the organisation, in a press conference held at Nachhatar Singh Memorial Hall, said 35 crore people in India slept empty stomach at night, 18 crore lived in temporary huts (shanties) and an equal number of people had no roof above their heads. It was tragic that the leaders seeked votes on the basis of development.

He further said the ruling parties in Punjab were adopting various tactics to capture the votes. They were trying to buy the votes. Those who refused to vote in their favour had to face harassment.

Concerning the incidence of Ramgarh Bhullar village, he said the women sarpanch openly took the help of muscle men to teach lesson to those who were not willing to oblige the Akalis. Independent panch of Kot Umra village was charged with false case by the police for not supporting the Akali sarpanch, he stated.

He held that the Kisan Union had never bowed before the atrocities of the police and politicians and would continue to do so in future as well.

A number of local leaders and workers of the organisation were present on this occasion.

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Pvt schools defy orders, remain open
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 7
Despite of the government’s orders to close educational institutions and government offices on May 7 and 13, it seemed that only the government schools followed the orders as most of the private schools remained open today.

Sister Chantal, principal, Sacred Heart Convent School, Sarabha Nagar, said, “Voting in Ludhiana would take place on May 13 and we better know when to declare a holiday.”

Col DB Sharma, director, Sat Paul Mittal School, said, “The school will remain closed on May 13.”

RS Patial, principal, DAV Public School, said he had circulated the notice among the teachers according to which they would be granted leave to exercise their franchise at the hustings.

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200 BEd students get degrees
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 7
The convocation and prize distribution function of DD Jain College of Education, Ludhiana, was organised here today.

Dr Manjit Singh Kang, Vice-Chancellor, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, was the chief guest.

Dr Tejwant Singh, Dean, College of Basic Sciences and Humanities, Harminder Kaur, senator from Panjab University, Chandigarh, and principals of various institutions were present on the occasion.

Dr Vijay Laxmi, principal of the college, presented the annual report highlighting achievements of the students. Degrees were given to 200 BEd students.

Nand Kumar Jain, President of the SS Jain Girls' committee, gave a vote of thanks.

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New home science course begins
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 7
College of Home Science at the PAU has started BSc (Hons) home science, a six-year programme, for matric pass students.

Dr Neelam Grewal, Dean, College of Home Science, PAU, said the college had also introduced BSc (Hons) fashion designing, BSc nutrition and dietetics, one-year postgraduate diploma in nutrition and dietetics and two new certificate courses “Souvenirs and Handicrafts” and “Child Care” for matric pass girls.

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PAU to celebrate National Technology Day
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 7
The PAU Centre for Communication and International Linkages, in collaboration with the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology, is organising National Technology Day on May 21.

PAU additional director of communication Dr Jagtar Singh Dhiman said they would have a declamation and a poster-making competition for students from schools and colleges of Ludhiana.

PAU vice-chancellor Dr Manjit Singh Kang will be the chief guest. Dr Neelam Gulati Sharma, additional director, Punjab State Council for Science and Technology will also be present on the occasion. A paper on “The role of science and technology in the contemporary society” will be presented on the occasion.

The themes for declamation and poster-making competitions would be “Save Environment, Save Humanity”, “Science- a blessing or curse” and “Say no to drugs”. The language for declamation could be Punjabi, Hindi or English. 

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Painting competition
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 7
A drawing and painting competition for Classes VI and VII was organised at BCM Senior Secondary School, Chandigarh road. Principal DP Guleria congratulated the winners.

Meanwhile, three students from Class VI of the same school visited a soft-drink factory, where they were shown the filteration, mixing, cleaning and sterlisation procedures.

Mother’s Day celebrated: Green Grove Public School, Mohanpur, celebrated “Mother’s Day” here today. Students presented various performances, including Punjabi folklore and a western dance. JPS Jolly, president of the school, was the chief guest.

A card making competition was also organised, in which Akansha Puri of Class VII and Milanveer of Class V bagged the first prize in the senior and junior category, respectively.

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SGPC willing to rehabilitate Pak Sikhs
Our Correspondent

Khamano, May 7
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) will rehabilitate Sikhs fleeing Pakistan due to ‘jajia’ levied by the Talibans. Akal Takhat’s Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh said this while talking to the mediapersons at nearby village Ranwan after inaugurating the new building of Gurdwara Gobindarh Sahib.

He condemned the demolition of the houses of Sikhs by Talibans. He also urged the parties to desist from distributing among youths. He, in turn, urged voters to boycott all such candidates who distribute drugs.

Before this, the bhog of Akhand Path and shabad kirtan was chanted by famous ragis. 

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Three booked for duping woman 
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 7
Three members of a peasant’s family of Kilaraipur village have been booked under Sections 420 and 120 B of the IPC for allegedly duping a woman of Kalarh village. They had extracted Rs 24 lakh from her on the pretext of sending her to Canada. They had even solemnised a fake marriage at a religious place at a Jhamatt village in Ludhiana district in 2003.

Those booked have been identified as Charanjit Singh of Kilaraipur, Kulwant Singh (his father) and Jaswant Singh (uncle). In her complaint lodged with the SSP, Ludhiana, (Rural), she had accused the trio of conspiring to dupe her on the basis of fake marriage the deal for which was struck at Rs 15 lakh. However, the accused managed to extract Rs 24 lakh from her on various dates.

Investigations revealed that the accused had lured the victim to shift to Canada on basis of fake marriage with Charanjit Singh. All expenses of the marriage were also to be borne by the bride’s family.

Though the Kilaraipur family had assured that Karamjit would be taken to Canada within a few months of the marriage and payment of the rest of the amount, nothing concrete was done even after five years of the settlement. The accused did not return money even.

The SSP directed DSP Dakha Param Jit Singh Goraya to probe into the matter. The Dehlon police registered a case against the accused.

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2 minor girls rescued, abductor held 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 7
The Sahnewal police nabbed a kidnapper from the Delhi railway station and rescued two minor girls from his possession while he was trying to take them to Bihar in order to sell them.

The girls were identified as Saraswati (10) and Basanti (7), both daughters of Ram Singh Bahadur, a resident of Sahnewal, who works as a labourer in FCI storeroom, Sahnewal.

SP City-II said a handcart puller, Parshu Ram of Arariya district, Bihar, who is said to be a close friend of Ram Singh, abducted the girls on the evening of April 2.

According to the police, the accused used to take the sisters for a ride on his handcart on a routine basis.

On April 2, the accused took the girls for a ride, but instead of returning home he took them to the railway station and boarded a train for Bihar.

The family reported the matter to the police after the girls did not return home.

On receiving a tip-off that the accused had taken the girls to Delhi and would further take them to Bihar, the police nabbed him while he was trying to board the train.

During the interrogations, the accused confessed that he had abducted the girls in order to sell them.

The elder sister, Saraswati, alleged that the accused had thrashed them and even threatened them while they were being taken to Delhi.

It was only after they reached the Delhi railway station that she managed to free herself from the shackles of the abductor and screamed for help. 

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Man killed in accident
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, May 7
A man was killed in an accident while another got serious injuries yesterday. Amarjit Singh (45) of Shahpur village was returning to his home, along with another man Buta Singh, after doing his night duty at Rishab Thread Mill, Jodhan.

On a bridge a 407 tempo (PB10 CJ 0260) coming from the opposite side rammed into Amarjit’s scooter killing him on the spot and severely injuring Buta.

The Sudhar police has booked Dadu Singh of Bihar under Sections 379, 337, 338, 427 and 304A of the IPC on the statement of Hardev Singh of Shahpur village. However, no arrest has been made as the accused fled from the scene of crime leaving the vehicle behind.

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Youth’s body found
Our Correspondent

Khamano, May 7
The body of an unidentified youth was found in the canal passing thorough the town, near rest house, this morning.

According to sources, some passersby spotted the body in the canal and informed the police about it. A police team reached the scene and took out the body from the canal.

The body bore no clothes and had a tattoo of a peacock on the left leg.

The victim seemed to be around 25 years old.

The body has been kept at the local civil hospital for identification.

The police is also trying to identify the body.

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