L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Use water judiciously, urges MC chief
City divided into 3 zones for water, power supply
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 27
The acute power crisis has already hit the water supply in various parts of the city. This has prompted Municipal Commissioner GS Ghuman to urge residents to use water judiciously.

He admitted that there had been a lapse in the water supply system due to the laziness on the part of corporation officials. He went on to add that the situation would improve within a few days. “We’ll try our best to find a permanent solution to the water crisis, but people need to be extra cautious while using it for washing cars, etc,” said commissioner adding that water table is receding. People can consult officers of their respective zones in case of no water or machinery breakdown.

The corporation officials said a plan was chalked out at a meeting convened by Cabinet minister Heera Singh Gabria on Thursday evening. The municipal commissioner and PSEB officials attended the meeting.

The officials present at the meeting divided the city into three zones. The timings were decided when tentatively water and power both would be available to the residents.

Municipal corporation sources revealed that irregularities during surprise check of the tube wells had angered the commissioner. Even the officers of the O&M cell, including Joint Commissioner BK Gupta, would be soon facing the commissioner’s ire. The sources added that the commissioner wanted to take a strict action against the erring municipal officers, but since a few senior politicians of were protecting them the ruling alliance was hampering his functioning.

The tube wells allotment in the corporation is more like a political process than being a government one as a result of which residents are victimised. “The municipal councillors play a major role in the allotments of tube wells and they are assisted by the municipal officers in the allotment process,” said a senior municipal corporation’s functionary on the condition of anonymity.

XEN A-zone A.K. Gupta 97800-39456

XEN B-zone Kamlesh Bansal 97800-39459

XEN C-zone Ganesh Raj 97800-39460

XEN D-zone Manjit Singh 97800-39457

Water Supply Timings

Zone — I: The water would be available between 4am to 6 am, 7 am to 9 am, 12 noon to 2 pm and 5 pm to 9 pm in areas falling under GT Road, Haibowal, Noorewal, Ferozepur Road, DC Complex, South City and Blokke Feeder area.

Zone — II: Residents of Gill Road, Basant Park, Model Town, Miller Ganj, Dholewal, Jail Road, Dugri, Chandigarh Road, and Jamalpur would get the municipal supply from 3.30 am to 5 am, 6 am to 8.30 am, 11 am to 1 pm and 5 pm to 9 pm.

Zone — III: Amaltas, Dhandari, Sahnewal, Giaspura, Focal Point, Goasgarh, Kanganwal and Transport Nagar areas would get water supply from 5 am to 7 am, 8 am to 10 am, 1 pm to 3 pm and 5.30 pm to 9.30 pm.


Karwal arrested in another case
Gets 10-day police remand
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 27
The prime accused in the Tehsildar Major GS Benipal (retd) assault case, Kamaljit Singh Karwal was arrested for another pending case by the Shimlapuri police station and remanded to one-day police custody by the Duty Magistrate.

He was, however, sent to judicial custody in the Major Benipal case, as the Duty Magistrate held that no more days were required by the police to recover things snatched from Benipal on the day of assault.

The prosecution had pleaded that they needed Karwal for three more days to recover Benipal's revolver, his watch and his wallet that were taken away on the day of attack.

The Duty Magistrate sent him to one-day police remand in another case registered against him in the Shimlapuri police station. He was nominated by the police in the case pertaining to a Wakf Board land grab case.

The Duty Magistrate also directed the police to show Karwal to doctors at the civil hospital if he complained of any ailment. The defence lawyers had pleaded that Karwal was suffering from jaundice and needed immediate attention.

Youth Akali Dal leaders had late last evening claimed that Karwal had a relapse of jaundice in the police custody. YAD office-bearer Surinder Grewal stated that Karwal was being treated shabbily in the police station.

He had also stated that Karwal was a liver patient. He had somehow survived some time ago after recovering from jaundice.

Grewal said Karwal was kept in a hot room and was not even provided with a bed sheet on the floor. He was being given poor quality drinking water. The doctor's report had proved that he had tested positive for jaundice.

Karwal was arrested on June 20 by the police after he was booked as a prime accused in the Major Benipal assault case. He was produced in a court on June 21 and was remanded to police custody for six days.



Bains, Karwal supporters stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 27
A large number of women supporters of SAD councillor and the prime accused in Tehsildar’s assault case staged a dharna against ‘‘inhuman’’ treatment being meted out to him in the police custody. The women staged dharnas at the Gill and the Samrala Chowks today.

The women braving hot weather raised slogans against the police and the administration.

They said Bains and Kamaljit Singh Karwal were being treated badly in the police custody.

They said Bains had always sided with his supporters and did not let the bureaucracy rule the roost. 



Controversial Projects
MC in catch-22 position
Yet to fix responsibility for delay
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 27
The controversial projects like Pakhowal Indoor Stadium and covering of the Ganda Nullah allotted to Deepak Builders would be once again restart, but the question about who is going to pay the penalty for the delay still remains.

According to sources, this decision has been taken on directions of local bodies chief vigilance officer AK Prabhakar, who had chargesheeted a few municipal corporation officials for irregularities committed in these projects.

Although the guidelines and provisions of the Punjab government state that in case of delay, the constructor should be penalized up to 10 per cent of the cost. What comes as a surprise is that decision to probe both cases is yet to be taken. The probe seems to be already running in doldrums without disclosing who is responsible for the delay - municipal officers or the contractor.

The builder had raised the cost of constructing the Pakhowal Indoor Stadium from Rs 16 crore to Rs 32 crore, while expenses of @covering of Ganda Nullah, too, was raised from Rs 13 crore to Rs 16 crore.

The projects had been hanging fire for more than a year.

Earlier, chief architect of Pakhowal Indoor Stadium Sunil Dey had alleged that the non-seriousness of the corporation delaying the project.

Sunil Dey had accused the builder of not following the original design and making amendments in the same without taking his advice into consideration.

According to the sources, the local bodies department has directed the municipal corporation to go ahead with the projects after the SAD-BJP ministers intervened.

The corporation has already been alleged of facilitating the builder in both projects.



Benipal Case
Pistol of accused found
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 27
Even as the police has not been able to recover the revolver of Tehsildar Major GS Benipal (retd) till date, it succeeded in recovering the pistol of another accused Ravi Kumar, alias Neetu, in the assault case.

Neetu had allegedly fired two shots at Benipal, but missed the target. The bullets had not hit Benipal, who collapsed just after the shots were fired.

The assailants had thought Major Benipal was shot dead and had left him on the spot. Later, Benipal regained consciousness and was rushed to the DMC hospital.

In the attack, his revolver, a Rado watch and a wallet carrying Rs 10,000 were also lost. These were taken away by the assailants. The police has not been able to recover either of his belongings yet.

Benipal said his revolver was the first thing that was removed from him when the assailants grabbed him.

Within a few seconds of his grabbing from behind, he tried to reach his revolver, but found the holster on his back empty.

The assailants then overpowered him and beat him up badly.

‘‘When they were carrying me on their shoulders, I heard somebody saying that he is wearing a very expensive watch. Within a few seconds, my watch was removed. I could not clearly see the person, who removed my watch,’’ said Benipal.

His wallet, too, was removed from his back pocket. It has not been recovered as yet.

The police, meanwhile, said that his belongings would soon be recovered.



Death of infant’s mother
Brother-in-law arrested
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 27
The police today arrested Puneet Arora, brother in-law of Neha Arora, who died under mysterious circumstances at Deep Hospital yesterday.

Puneet was produced in the court and was further sent to police remand, while the three accused, including Vineet Arora, husband, Rajrani Arora, mother-in-law, and Jaipal Arora, father-in-law, are still absconding.

The deceased Neha (27), who underwent a caesarian and gave birth to a girl child four days ago, died after suddenly collapsing in the bathroom.

In the meantime, the gynaecologist attending on her said that the deceased was fine and was not facing any post-operative medical complications.

Gynaecologist Dr Aruna Dhar said, "She was recovering well after the operation." She claimed that Neha was absolutely fine when she last attended on her.

On June 26 at 6 am, her blood pressure and temperature were checked and found normal.

Doctors at the hospital raised doubts over Neha's sudden collapse in the bathroom which led to her death.



Hottest day of season in city
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 27
The city recorded the hottest day of the season here today with mercury touching 47 degree Celsius and the rain gods still playing truant.

Experts predict no respite from the scorching heat for at least next two days. They predict that the day temperatures would go up to 49 degrees tomorrow.

Reeling under severe heat wave sweeping across the region, city residents’ problems have been compounded by long power cuts during day as well as night.

Rising temperatures have thrown outdoor life completely out of gear so much so that the effect can be seen not only on the city residents but also on stray cattle, canines and birds, who seem to have vanished from the city streets. Farmers are also a harassed lot with the increasing danger of monsoon failure looming large, the crops stand to face the possibility of being completely damaged.

And acute power and water shortage are only adding to the woes of the residents. Sweating in the sweltering June heat with scheduled as well as unscheduled power cuts of long duration during day and night, the residents have little choice but to bear with the harsh weather and the problems it bring along.



Change in office timings welcomed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 27
The state government has changed the timings of government offices, bringing a sigh of relief to government employees and officials, who have been braving hot weather and long power cuts.

The offices would now open at 7:30 a.m. and close at 1.30 p.m. everyday till further orders. The orders come into force from Monday.

Public works have suffered a lot over the past many days due to long power cuts. The efficiency of officials and employees has also been affected due to the harsh weather.

The move of the PSEB, asking them to switch off airconditioners, was a double whammy for them. With no respite from the sultry weather and ACs switched off, office life had become miserable.

Several officials said the decision had come as a whiff of fresh air for them. ‘‘We were already demanding a change in the office timings. The decision should have been taken a fortnight ago, ’’ said an official.



No respite from power cuts
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 27
The city nowadays is facing blackout, courtesy policies of the state government and delayed monsoon, which have caused acute power shortage in the state.

As soon as the clock strikes 10 pm, streets in the city go under a spell of darkness. The scheduled power cut during the evening is adding to the woes of residents, giving open invitation to thieves and snatchers, who are trying to take full advantage of the dark nights.

Youngsters are witnessing a unique and unbearable experience. “I have read about Stone Age, when there was no source of energy and human beings were dependent on natural sources of energy, but I am sure Stone Age would not be as bad as this. Despite having all resources, there is pitch-dark in the city. Even the inverters are of no use, as they work only for a limited period of time. Further, the smoke emitting from the generators have made our life miserable,” said Priya, a resident of Sham Singh Road.

But, for the people in their mid-50s, the situation reminds them of the days of war. They witnessed similar blackouts during the time India was at war with Pakistan and China.

“Such darkness reminds me of the days of war, as in those days there was complete darkness. Even we used to cover the windows with black paper sheets so that the light could not penetrate through the glass window. But these days we do not even have to do that as the PSEB has imposed a blackout,” said Madan Mohan Khurana.

All streetlights, including the ones installed on the National Highway-1 and other major highways, remain switched off after 10 pm.

For women, it is a horrifying experience.

“It was a terrible 30-minute duration from office to home, as I had to walk for 1 km in pitch-dark before I hired an auto-rickshaw. As snatching cases are on the rise, I was fortunate enough to have reached home safely,” said Sunaina Singh, who works at Mall Road.

On the other hand, some people are busy cracking jokes at the administration. Vivek was busy sending SMSes to his friends and relatives mocking at the worsening power condition in the state.

“In the USA, people celebrate Edison’s birthday by switching off their electrical appliances for two minutes, but in Punjab due to reverence, the state government celebrates it for eight to 10 hour every day,” he said.



Ward No 11
Streetlights remain on at daytime
Lovleen Bains
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, June 27
Even as people here are facing an acute power crisis, ward no 11 is witness to reckless wastage of electricity.

Residents of the ward complain that at the time when the state is facing a serious power crunch, power is being wasted through its unwanted use here during the daytime.

“Seldom do the nagar council employees bother to switch off the streetlights in the morning to switch them on later towards the evening. Although it is solely the duty of the panchayat to look after such crucial issues, we have to remind them time and again that they should cut off the supply during the daytime. It is sheer callousness. Despite our frequent reminders, they do not do the needful,” rue many residents.

“Also, one is surprised when sometimes these lights are put off towards the evening but never switched on at night,” said a resident.

The residents demanded strict action against the erring staff.



Power Crisis
Tewari shows sympathy for industrialists
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 27
A few industrialists, who were protesting against the unequal distribution and shortage of power in the city, met Manish Tewari, local MP, today. He said, “Although the Centre has no role to play in the distribution of power, he is worried about the power crisis in the state and will try to influence the state government in this regard.

He also lambasted the government for its failure to provide power to the state. The situation has become so worse that there is no power in urban areas for almost 14 hours while cuts are imposed for much longer durations in the rural areas, he added.

Moreover, he reminded Parkash Singh Badal that he should act like the state’s Chief Minister rather than the Bathinda and Jallalabad’s mayor, from where his son was going to contest the Assembly by-election.

Tewari pointed out that the government had sought a record 18 extensions for the unbundling of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB).

This is unprecedented in the country’s history that the state so progressive and industrialised lags behind in power reforms, he added. Initiative on the part of the state government was lacking.

Otherwise, he asked, how is it possible that the private investors and power producers have refused to invest in Punjab? It is the state government hostility towards the private investors that keeping them away, he added.



Minor fires break out at 3 places
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 27
The city witnessed three minor fire incidents in various parts here today.

According to information, the first fire was reported in a house near Government College where due to a short circuit, the power metre caught fire.

Vishali, owner of the house, revealed that the metre installed on the first floor suddenly caught fire around 12 pm. A fire tender was pressed into the service immediately to douse the flames and the wiring of the whole floor has been destroyed due to fire.

Similarly, the second incident was reported at Salem Tabri at a house near GK Tent House. Lucky Singh owned the house and material worth Rs 50,000 to Rs 60,000 has been reduced to ashes. Fire department officials said the cause of fire was a spark from generator and within a few hours the situation was under control.

Another fire was reported here this evening at Jyoti Collection near Girja Ghar Chowk where again power wires caught fire resulting in material losses, which were yet to be estimated. However, no loss of life has been reported in all three incidents.

The fire department officials have appealed to residents to be cautious of the power cables and generators in summers to avert any mishap.



Merger of Banks
SBI assn chief calls for debate
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 27
ON Bindroo, president of the State Bank of India (SBI) Staff Federation, today asked employees to work unitedly for strengthening the union. Bindroo, who was in the city today, was felicitated by the Staff Association and Staff Federation of the State Bank of India, Ludhiana.

He called upon the employees to fight for their rights. On the merger of various state banks, Bindroo said the issue was debatable and the government must take a decision in this regard after going through economic feasibility.

He said it was unfortunate that government was putting off the decision on wage revision. He also said the government had backtracked on its earlier decision of providing 17.5 per cent increase. "Though we never agreed to that decision, but later, the Finance Minister issued another statement that they had agreed to an increase of 15 per cent. This is certainly not acceptable as we want 20 per cent increase," said Bindroo.

Meanwhile, welcoming Bindroo, Dharam Chand Landran, regional secretary, SBI, here said under his presidentship, the staff had achieved greater heights.

Among others present on the occasion were IP Singh, Harbir Singh, Krishan Sabharwal, DS Bawa and Baldev Singh.



Labourer succumbs to injuries

Machhiwara, June 27
A migrant labourer who received serious injuries on Thursday succumbed to his injuries today.

The deceased, identified as Ramesh Lal (50), was admitted to a local hospital after receiving serious injuries in a brawl with three migrant labourers near Dhussi Bandh.

The police has registered a case under Section 302 of the IPC against the three migrants. The accused have been identified as Shankar, Raj Kumar and Chand. — TNS



Railway station inspected
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 27
Divisional railway manager (DRM) Satish Kumar, Ferozpur division head, today conducted an inspection at the railway station here. Accompanied by various senior officials, the DRM visited several departments, including reservation, enquiry, parcel houses and platforms, etc., to see that working was being done in a smooth manner.

Later, he also visited the Dhandari Kalan port.



Inter-state gang busted, 3 held
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 27
Three members of an inter-state gang, specialising in stealing money from the glove boxes of two-wheelers and cars, have been arrested. The eight-member gang, aged between 17 and 50 years, had been active in the town and the neighbouring areas for the past three years.

The cops of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have been on the lookout for the members of this gang since long.

Though exact number of thefts committed by them was yet to be ascertained, it’s suspected that the gangsters had put their hands on the hard-earned money of hundreds of victims during the past several years.

Those arrested were experts in breaking open the locks of the glove boxes of two-wheelers and cars. They committed the thefts in groups of threes to fours. While the group leader used to divert the target’s attention, other members would steal the cash from the box and hand it over to gangster waiting nearby.

Acting on a tip-off, cops led by Harinder Singh, SHO (City) arrested four members of the gang while they were planning a strike near a bank here yesterday evening. About Rs 49,000 stolen from the glove box of Hardev Singh’s scooter was seized from their possession.

Those arrested have been identified as Ram Phal, alias Ram Chander of Bilawa in Gonda district of Uttar Pradesh, his brother Ram Pher, alias Jhunde, and Jawala Drundiari of Wazir Ganj.

Gupreet Singh Sikand, DSP, Malerkotla, said the modus operandi of the gang was to scatter in banks, post offices and other public places where money transactions used to take place. After identifying their targets, they used to follow it, steal the money and escape.



Grandfather’s kidnapping: 3 held
Tribune News Service

Khanna, June 27
The Khanna police today booked three persons for kidnapping grandfather of one of the accused and forcing him to sign blank papers.

The incident took place around six months ago and the accused were arrested yesterday.

In a complaint lodged with the police, Sadhu Singh alleged that his grandson, Satvir Singh, in connivance with his two friends kidnapped him and forced him to sign some blank papers and also some affidavits.

He said he had distributed some of his land of 87 bighas among his four sons and kept a few bighas with him. One of the grandsons wanted more land from his portion, which he denied.

He alleged that Satvir along with his friends kidnapped him on December 15. They took him away in a car and forced him to sign the papers.

After investigations, the police found the complaint true and arrested the accused. They were produced in the court.



Gang of thieves busted, arms seized
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, June 27
The Sudhar police has arrested five members of a gang of thieves yesterday. With this arrest, the Ludhiana rural police has claimed to solve more than 100 cases of thefts and snatching in the past six months.

The police has also recovered a .315 bore pistol along with seven live cartridges which the accused claim of possessing for safety.

Sudhar SHO Tehal Singh got a tip that the accused were sitting near Sudhar Bridge and planning for a robbery. The SHO along with his party raided the spot and arrested the accused equipped with deadly weapons, including the pistol.

The police also recovered two scooters from their possession.

The arrested included Lakhvir Singh alias Kheera, Rachpal Singh alias Pakora, Jagshir Singh Singh alias Jagga of Bariach village, Parminder Singh alias Bunti of Heran village and Pritpal Singh alias Bawa of Aitiana village.

The police has also recovered the pistol, seven live cartridges, an axe and a sharp-edged weapon.



Soft Tennis
Mixed luck for Punjab players
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, June 27
Hosts Punjab had a mixed luck on the second day of the ongoing fifth Junior National Soft Tennis Championship for boys and girls being organised by the Punjab Soft Tennis Association on the Punjab Agricultural University campus grounds here today.

Punjab recorded 2-0 victory over West Bengal in the girl’s section, but its players lost to Maharashtra in the similar fashion in the boy’s category.

In the boy’s section, Chandigarh along with Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu wrapped up their matches in the second round.

Chandigarh beat Delhi 2-0, Madhya Pradesh outplayed Haryana 2-0, Gujarat pipped Jammu and Kashmir 2-0 and Tamil Nadu defeated Rajasthan 2-0.

In other matches (second round), Andhra Pradesh defeated Karnataka 2-0, Uttar Pradesh beat Chhattisgarh 2-0 and Orissa defeated Kerala 2-0.

Later, in the quarterfinals (boys), Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra won their respective encounters to advance into the last four stages.

Uttar Pradesh beat Andhra Pradesh 2-1, Gujarat outplayed Orissa 2-1 and Maharashtra defeated Tamil Nadu 2-1.

In the girl’s section, besides Punjab, other teams which romped home, included Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Delhi defeated Kerala 2-0, Andhra Pradesh beat Chandigarh 2-0, Uttar Pradesh beat Rajasthan 2-0, Maharashtra defeated Jammu and Kashmir 2-0 and Gujarat beat Karnataka 2-0.



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