L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Peace on the track again
But rumours keep residents indoors
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 27
Peace returned to the city today and life limped back to normalcy as residents came out on roads after staying indoors for the past two days.

The administration lifted curfew in the areas falling under five police stations, including Basti Jodhewal, Salem Tabri, Division no. 2, 4 and 7 for three hours in the evening.

A self-imposed curfew was, however, witnessed in many areas. Though traffic was seen on the Ferozepore road throughout the day, not many people were out on other roads in the city.

The market on link road ahead of Bharat Nagar Chowk was closed. Many shops in jewellers market at fountain chowk, Chaura Bazar and other markets were also closed.

No untoward incident was reported from any city area. Rumour mills, however, worked overtime and were responsible for keeping people indoors. The Tribune office received a number of calls and people wanted to know about the law and order situation. Many rumours about violent incidents were spread that did not allow shopkeepers to open shops.

‘‘When we opened our shops, we heard a rumour about violence in some area. Then we were scared and we downed the shutters. We thought it was better to lose business for a day than to see our shops becoming a victim of arson,’’ said Saurabh Khullar, a shopkeeper in Chaura Bazar.

As a confidence-building measure, the Deputy Commissioner went around in many areas and was seen asking the shopkeepers to open shops. He told them to open these as it was the only way for normalcy to return.

The schools, colleges and other educational institutes were closed today. Several bank branches and some government offices remained closed. The attendance was thin in several others.

While the train service was resumed, not many buses plied on the roads. Operators had to take the matter to the DC, who allowed them to travel on roads. 


Schools, colleges closed today
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 27
All educational institutions in the city will remain closed tomorrow due to security reasons, an official spokesperson said here today. The institutions include all schools, colleges and both universities - GADVASU and the PAU.



Petrol taps run dry in city
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 27
About 95 per cent of the city's petrol stations of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL), IndianOil Corporation (IOC) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) went dry today following no supply from the Jalandhar terminal.

All 56 petrol filling stations in the city were reported to be dry. Ten tankers of petrol are expected to reach the city by this evening but that will serve no purpose, say officials. Panic gripped commuters, who were seen making a beeline at stations to get petrol/diesel.

District Food and Supply Controller (East) HS Mokha said the condition of petrol pumps in the city was bad. He said almost all 56 filling

stations in the city were dry today as there was no supply of petrol/diesel from the Jalandhar terminal.

"As the Jalandhar administration could not provide security to the tankers, there was no supply from the terminal. The local dealers are a worried lot. By this evening, we expect that 10 tankers will reach the city from Sangrur, but that too if security cover was provided. That will cater just 7-10 filling stations and will meet 25 per cent of the supply demand", said Mokha.

General secretary of the Ludhiana Petrol Pump Dealers' Association Ashok Sachdeva said the city had got its last supply of petrol on Saturday. And there was absolutely no supply to the stations till date from Jalandhar, which caters to the entire area.

"It is a bad situation of petrol supply in the city. We were expecting tankers on Monday but that could not happen due to security reasons. It is Wednesday today and all the stations are dry. City consumes 4-5 lakh liters of petrol/diesel everyday, you can imagine how badly it will affect the commuters", he said.

Atul Malhotra, a commuter, complained that he had visited at least four petrol stations in the city since morning but could not get petrol in his car. "I had to meet an ailing relative at the PGI, Chandigarh, today, but could not make it due to acute shortage of petrol. Though, I have been told that on the GT Road (Doraha-Khanna Highway), petrol was easily available but I had not enough petrol in the car even to reach there. I hope to get it by the evening", he said.



Dental college project on hospital premises
ESIC staff resent order to move out
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 27
The coming up of dental college on the premises of ESIC Model Hospital, Ludhiana, has caused resentment among the staff working under the state government as they have been asked to shift out of the premises at the earliest following the orders of the ESI Corporation.

ESI Hospital was taken over by the Centre in 2002 and thereafter it was accorded the status of a state-of-the-art model hospital.

A senior official at ESIC Model Hospital stated that they were unhappy over the conduct of the state government, which was responsible for the working of dispensaries operational in various parts of Ludhiana and zone at large. The Centre had even proposed to the state government to hand these over to it to which the state government did not agree to.

Of all dispensaries in Ludhiana, the dispensaries at Kailash Chowk, Gill Road, Millerganj and Wazir Road were shifted on the ESI Model Hospital premises due to the inability of the state government to pay the increased rents to building owners.

The employees (beneficiaries under the ESI Act) had to come to ESI Hospital at Bharat Nagar Chowk for medicines and clearance of their bills.

A large number of workers ended up losing a day's salary as they had to commute from far ends of the city to get medicines and deal with other formalities pertaining to their benefits.

On the other hand, employees at the ESI (Zonal) office under the state government said the real purpose of ESIC Model Hospital stood defeated as they had failed to provide super-specialists as promised.

"Industrial workers will be subjected to even more harassment as they will have to first visit ESIC Model Hospital from where they will be referred to dispensaries and thereafter to the hospitals, including CMCH, SPS Apollo Hospital, Ludhiana, PGIMER, Chandigarh, and Government Hospital, Patiala, to avail the treatment of super specialists."

Dr Sarita Dogra, medical superintendent at ESI Model Hospital, Ludhiana, said this premises belonged to the ESI Corporation and the space was required to set up hostels and residential complex. "Dental college will have reservations for employees also," MS added.



Stamp Paper Racket 
Treasury office records inspected
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 27
A team of two internal auditors today inspected the records of the District Treasury Office and a few stamp vendors to inquire into the fake stamp paper racket here.

The team led by Devraj Chauhan, auditor, visited the treasury office and checked the records pertaining to the scam. They also checked the stamp papers available with the vendors of the city.

They remained in the treasury for four hours before leaving for the offices of stamp vendors.

While the auditors refused to speak to the media, sources said they enquired about the stamp papers worth Rs 35,000 that had gone missing from the treasury a few days ago.

They said the preliminary inquiries revealed that the kingpin in the scam was an advocate, who happens to be the son of an Akali leader. He had signed on the fake papers as a witness.

The scam had come to light a fortnight ago. It was reported to the deputy commissioner by Sub-Registrar (Central), Maj GS Benipal. The deputy commissioner had referred the matter to the police for registering the case. The police had booked two persons in the scam. In charge, CIA-I, Gurpreet Singh, told The Tribune that raids were on to nab a few accused in the case. He admitted more people were involved in the scam and they would be nominated in the FIR. 



650 booked for murder bid, damaging  property
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 27
Two days after the normal life in the city came to a standstill, the local police has booked more than 650 people in attempt to murder cases and for damaging public property at various part of the city.

The Laddowal police alone, for damaging the toll plaza at the Sutlej Bridge, has booked at least 500 youths from Phillaur. The agitators had attacked the toll plaza twice recently.

Earlier on April 1, Dera Sachkhand followers from Phillaur and neighbouring villages had damaged the toll plaza, when its authorities did not allow the procession to cross the bridge without paying for the tickets.

According to police sources, it was not an outburst of what took place in Vienna, actually residents of Phillaur and neighbouring villages are upset about the hike in toll rates and this incident gave them an opportunity to vent their anger.

At least 100 followers have also been booked for damaging the public property and torching a bus near the Jalandhar bypass on Sunday night.

While, more then 35 persons have been booked by the Jodhewal police for two incidents took place yesterday evening. At least 30 youths had entered a liquor vend located in Subash Nagar near the Trikona Park yesterday night.



Postal employees threaten stir 
Want govt to clear promotion, revamp pension policies 
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 27
Accusing the successive governments of ignoring long- pending demands of the postal employees, the All-India Postal Employees Union (P-III) has announced to adopt organisational measures in case their grievances were not redressed without any delay.

Top leaders of the organisation have also called upon the union activists to be prepared for the struggle, which would bring the move to a logical conclusion.

KV Sreedharan, national general secretary, said the union would be left with no recourse other than adopting organised measures in case the Central government continued to ignore their demands. Making up with the staff shortage, clearing promotion backlog and revamping the pension policy topped the union’s demands.

“Leaving aside the demands like salaries and pension, staff shortage and promotional backlog affect the customer service directly. Though we have been running business with reduced staff strength, it seems almost impossible to run offices with staff that has reduced by 30 to 40 per cent at most of the post offices,” Sreedharan added.

He said the situation at various post offices in Punjab had worsened allegedly due to bureaucratic indifferences.

Referring to the information collected from the delegates during biennial conference, which concluded in Amritsar recently, Sreedharan rued that the employee had to work under physical and mental stress. A large number of post offices were being run in rented accommodations, which needed immediate repairs.

“Though the amount of work and number of constituents has increased manifold, the government has failed to provide proper infrastructure for passing on quality service to our customers. This leads to dissatisfaction of our clients, that adds to woes of staff also,” said Sreedharan ruing that authorities concerned had been ignoring feedback provided by the staff.

HL Mann, state president, Sham Lal Sharda, vice-president, Hazara Ram, divisional secretary, and NS Dhir, financial secretary of the union, were present on the occasion. 



Illegal construction at Transport Nagar
Panel seeks papers from town planner
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 27
The four-member committee formed by the Mayor to probe into the illegal construction of 20 shops at Transport Nagar has sought documents from the area town planner Kamljeet Kaur.

According to sources, the documents had been sought on Monday before the closure of offices in wake of curfew. “ATP SS Bindra, who is also a committee member, has written, to the B-zone office to provide records which are in the possession of the Municipal Corporation to the committee, including letters to the DC office by the Municipal Corporation and also the replies received, along with office notices, records of demolition earlier done at the site in the presence of CVO AK Prabhakar and communiqués sent to the local bodies department,” sources added.

However, officials in B-zone revealed that they didn’t receive any communication for records till today.

Meanwhile, another committee formed by Municipal Commissioner GS Ghuman was not ready to divulge what efforts had been done to probe into the matter. Zonal Commissioner BK Gupta, however, said: “I am still carrying the work,” and refused to state whether documents had been sought.

For the past two months, construction at Transport Nagar has become a bone of contention for the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation. While the officials are of the opinion that the construction is illegal, Municipal Councillors, however, want the construction to continue.

MLA Satpal Gosain and son of BJP MLA Harish Bedi too are some of the front-runners who want the construction to come up despite the fact that Punjab and Haryana High court has asked the civic body to be strict about encroachments.



Abandoned child gets home 
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, May 27
A newborn girl child was yesterday handed over the SGB International Foundation, Talwandi Khurd. The child was found abandoned at Gobind Colony, Kharar, on May 20. Since then, she has been kept under medical supervision at the civil hospital in Kharar. Official concerned yesterday handed over the baby to the government- approved institution being run by Swami Shankara Nand Bhuri Wale.

A case under Section 317 of the IPC has been registered against the woman. The government of India instead of allowing the abandoned child to be adopted by a needy couple has under JJ Act 2000 made provisions to handover the child to any approved centre. Keeping these in mind, Barinderpal Kaur, social security officer, on the orders of the Mohali Deputy Commissioner’s, ordered the Kharar SMO to handover the child to Swami Ganga Nand Bhuri Wale International Foundation, Talwandi Khurd.

A large number of orphaned or abandoned children are housed in this institution since long. It, later on, hands over the child to a few needy childless couples after following certain legal formalities.



Punjab Violence: Industry suffers Rs 100-cr loss 
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 27
Following incidents of violence in Punjab during the past two days, the local business industry suffered loses worth crores yesterday. It was a bad day for the local industry, as the Customs Department remained idle throughout the day as not a single consignment was shipped. Thus, import and export worth Rs 100 crore got affected. The local industrialists feel that the industry was already reeling under recession and such incidents help in rubbing salt to their wounds.

Talking to The Tribune SP Ralhan, chairman, Engineering Export Promotion Council (northern region), said: “We, the industrialists, have to compete in the global market. There are not much hidden margins in terms of money and time for us. We are bound to deliver goods well in time. And one day’s loss means a lot”, added Ralhan.

Hitesh Gambhir, another businessman at Focal Point, said: “Though there was a call for two days bandh, but they continued with their production work due to the ongoing export order. But the production has badly been hampered. Almost 50 per cent of our labourers failed to make it to the factory due to the rumours in the market.” “Even today, 30 to 40 workers have not been able to come as curfew has been imposed in their areas. Industry, overall, is already reeling under severe recession, if such violent incidents continue to happen, we will be finished”, he added.

KK Seth, MD, Neelam Cycles, said his was a marginal cycle unit, but in the past two days, he had to bear losses worth Rs 1.25 crore. “We are small players, still our sales are badly affected due to the violence in this part of the region. You can well imagine what must have happened to the big names in the cycle industry. The entire work has come to a standstill in the past two days. Though, the production has again started today but at a very slow pace”, he rued. 



Vardhman signs deal with Japanese co
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 27
Vardhman Textiles Limited has entered into a joint venture agreement with Nisshinbo Textile Inc, Japan, for manufacturing men’s shirts.

Nisshinbo is a world-class textile manufacturer with comprehensive operations, including spinning, weaving, knitting, finishing and sewing. The joint venture would be implemented in a separate company promoted by the name of “Vardhman Texgarments Limited.”

SP Oswal, chairman, Vardhman Group of Companies, said the total manufacturing capacity of the project would be about 1.8 million pieces per annum. The estimated capital cost for the project was Rs 30 crore, which would be financed partly from equity contribution by joint venture partners and partly by debt. The project would be located at Ludhiana. The equity participation of Vardhman and Nisshinbo would be in the ratio of 51:49.

The venture of Vardhman is a step towards gradual Integration of its textile value chain to meet the clothing requirements of high end customers in domestic and international market.



SSF comes to shopkeepers’ rescue
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 27
The Sikh Students Federation today helped the shopkeepers of the old city areas to open their shops and shoo away protesters, who tried to force market closure in the morning.

The SSF activists, led by outfit's president Gurdeep Singh, armed with naked swords marched on the road in the market and asked the shopkeepers to open their outlets fearlessly.

They scared away a number of agitators, who came to Chaura Bazar, Books Market and Meena Bazar and forced shopkeepers to down their shutters. The activists took out a peace march to instill confidence in the shopkeepers.

Earlier, the shopkeepers had closed their shops after getting scared. But later they all opened their establishments. ‘‘We were scared to see many establishments worth crores reducing to ashes,’’ said a shopkeeper.

‘‘People were only buying essential commodities. They were not buying anything else,’’ he said. SSP activists said though their act was termed illegal by some, they had not indulged in any such activity. They were trying to restore peace, he said.

‘‘What took place in Vienna was unfortunate and we have full sympathy with the followers. We have already suffered huge losses as our closed shops have been damaged by the angry mob. And there has been no work for the past two days. Finally, the curfew was relaxed in our area today, but some youths tried create ruckus again. So we decided to teach them lesson."



Local leaders blamed for SAD-BJP drubbing
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 27
The Punjab Pardesh Aggarwal Sammelan, while expressing its concern over the defeat of the SAD-BJP candidates on the eight Lok Sabha seats in Punjab, including Ludhiana, has blamed the infighting among senior local leaders as the reason for the same.

Addressing a meeting of the state executive of the body, Amrit Lal Aggarwal, state president, said the shocking defeat of the SAD nominee Gurcharan Singh Galib at the hands of the Congress candidate was ample proof that senior leaders of the ruling coalition, including Cabinet minister, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, legislators and councillors had lost contact with the masses.

The Sammelan, which had lent its overwhelming support to the coalition candidates in the parliamentary Poll, urged the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal to hold a probe into the defeat of the party and carry out damage-control exercise to regain confidence of the people.

Earlier, Aggarwal was unanimously reelected president of the state unit along with other office-bearers, which included Ashok Kumar Bansal, senior vice-president, Moga, Surinder Kumar Gupta, general secretary, Ludhiana, Arvind Kumar Jindal, treasurer, Subhash Chand Gupta (Zira), Harish Goyal (Ferozepur), Deepak Aggarwal (Sangrur) and Shyam Lal (Jalandhar) joint general secretaries. 



Most trains behind schedule
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 27
The rail traffic was resumed late last afternoon, most of trains were still running behind the schedule for several hours till this evening.

The railway officials attributed the delay to shortage of racks, over-congestion at originating points and congestion on the tracks on the trunk routes. The situation is likely to resume to normal by tomorrow, they added.

As per official information, among the major trains, 3049 Duplicate Howrah was running late by 13 hrs, 5651 Lohit Express was delayed by nine hrs, 5707 Katihar Express by eight hrs, 4649 Flying Mail by five hrs, 2715 Sachkhand Express by one hr and 2459 Amritsar-New Delhi Superfast was late by two hrs.

All trains originating from Amritsar were running much behind their scheduled timings. Amritsar-New Delhi evening Shatabdi was delayed by one hr, 2498 Shane-Punjab by three hrs, 4650 Flying Mail by three hrs, 906 Amritsar-Mumbai summer special by one hr, 8104 Jallianwala Bagh Express by two hrs and 3050 Duplicate Howrah was late for indefinite period as the corresponding train was still to reach its originating point.



Call to maintain peace
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 27
The All-India Human Rights watch, in a press note, here today made a public appeal seeking cooperation for maintaining peace in the city.

Making a statement in the wake of violence following the assassination of a religious leader in Vienna, president RK Verma, said: “The state government failed to maintain law and order. The violence continued despite imposing curfew in Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur and Ludhiana. A sizeable public property, costing several crores, was also damaged.”

In a separate press note, Kuldip Singh, state secretary of Punjab MCPI, said: "The government should ensure tight security." Dalbir Katani, general secretary of the Taraksheel Society (Ludhiana Zone), urged people to rise above societal divisions and adopt a humanist approach for larger public welfare.



Jotinder shines in Class XII exam
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 27
Jotinder Kaur of Shaheed-e-Azam Sukhdev Thapar Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Bharat Nagar, got the first position in Ludhiana in the vocational group in Class XII Punjab School Education Board exams and 24th position in the state.

Tripat Kaur from the same school the bagged 18 position in the state. Pawan Sharma of Everest Senior Secondary School stood second in the city, with 86 per cent marks and 26th in the state in vocational studies (computer science). He aspires to be a computer engineer.

Jotinder Kaur, while talking to The Tribune, said her vocational stream was garment-making and was happy over her success. She aspires to be a fashion designer.

In the science group, Gaurav of Ramgarhia sen sec school got the first position in city and 11th position in the state merit list. 



3 booked for violence 
Our Correspondent

Raikot, May 27
Three persons have been booked in a violence that took place yesterday. Gurmail Singh, his son Vicky and former sarpanch Sawinder Singh of Nangal Khurd village, were booked on a complaint lodged by Ramandeep Singh of the same village.

The complainant had accused that the trio had beaten him up with sharp edged and blunt weapons due to an old enmity between them. The complainant was admitted to the local civil hospital in a critical condition.



Assault on Tribune team
Cops yet to get breakthrough
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 27
The investigative skills of the Ludhiana police have come under scanner with the failure of the police to crack the assault on a Tribune team and robbing of a camera, 16 days after the incident took place.

A Tribune team comprising two reporters and a photographer was attacked by four persons, who were consuming liquor by placing bottles on the top of their car in front of Pandit's Parantha outlet in Gha Mandi, while flouting the orders of the District Magistrate on the eve of parliamentary elections.

Besides beating the reporter and photographer, the assailants had damaged the camera and took the remains.

After so many days, the police is still clueless regarding the identity of assailants. SSP Dr Sukhchain Singh Gill had ordered registration of a case into the incident. The case was registered on May 12 but no further action was taken. A delegation of mediapersons had met the SSP. He had assured action after election. Still no breakthrough has been achieved.

Pramod Batish, president, Journalists Association, Ludhiana, has sought early identification of the assailants. 



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