L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Further dip in temperature
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 2
Normal life continued to be paralysed for the third consecutive day with a thick blanket of fog engulfing the city today. The major affect of the fog was seen on the flow of traffic in and around the city as poor visibility led to massive traffic disruptions.

Residents remained indoors for most part of the day as there was a sharp fall in the temperature levels. By evening the fog had completely spread over the city and discouraged residents from venturing out. Strong wind also added to the chill.

While the maximum temperature for the day was recorded at around 8-9 degrees Celsius, the minimum temperatures hovered between 2-4 degrees Celsius.

In the wake of the bone-chilling conditions over the past few days, bonfires have become a common sight in the city, with the rich and the poor lighting fire to keep warm.

The sale of room heaters has also registered a sharp increase over the past couple of days.

The harsh weather conditions left some parents worried as some schools reopened today. “It is very difficult to venture out in such conditions, especially for small children. The administration should follow its counterpart in Delhi and other states and close all educational institutions until the situation is better,” Renuka Sharma, a mother, stated.

Reports suggest that the prevailing weather conditions would continue for the next three-four days.


No water in city for 20 hrs
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 2
Power failure following a technical snag in the Northern Grid today hit the water supply to the city for around 20 hours. Almost every area, including old city areas and posh areas, were affected.

Tube wells could not function in the absence of power and as a result, taps went dry. The last supply of water was made by the MC from 5 pm to 10 pm yesterday. Till the filing of this report, many areas were yet to be supplied water. Residents said the MC should have made arrangements for such situations well in time.

Harpreet of Model Town Extension said: “The situation was a little better as schools are closed, but the daily chores were a problem. There was no water in the morning.” She added that though power was restored in the area at around 3 pm for some time, the water supply was not available till 5 pm.

Poonam, a resident of Sundan Mohalla, complained that without water the entire day was disturbed. “No water tanker was made available by the MC and it did not even direct tube well operators to supply water before time,” she said, adding that being Punjab’s largest civic body, neither the councillors nor officials had thought of introducing generators.

MC officials admitted their failure and apologised for the inconvenience. They said they tried to supply water tankers in areas where residents approached them. They said two water tankers were sent to Gurdwara Kalgidhar for nagar kirtan. They also stated that they would discuss the situation with seniors and chalk out solutions for such emergency situations.



Snag in power grid delays trains
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 2
A technical snag in the Northern Power Grid in the wee hours and the fog hit the rail traffic here today. About 15-20 trains coming from various parts of the country were delayed and hundreds of passengers were stranded in the cold for hours at the railway station. Some trains were late for over 12 hours.

A large number of commuters were stuck at the railway station. Due to the snag, several trains were put on diesel for the convenience of passengers. Even then, the trains were late between three to six hours.

Sumit Verma, a local resident who had to come back from Delhi in the morning, had to get his ticket cancelled as the train was late by over eight hours. “I had to catch a bus to get home. It took more than nine hours to reach Ludhiana,” he rued.

Another passenger, Raminder Singh, a resident of Jammu, said he had to board Tata-Mori Express, but it was late by 13 hours. “I knew that the train would be late, but 13 hours is too much. It has been a long wait in such chilly weather,” he said.

Station superintendent Rakesh Sharma said in such weather conditions, trains were generally delayed. Major trains, including Tata-Mori Express, Shan-e-Punjab and Sachkhand Express were late by several hours. 



Robbery gang kingpin held
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 2
The city police has nabbed the kingpin of an inter-state gang behind 17 robbery incidents in different parts of the state in the past seven months.

The accused has been identified as Jasbir Singh (35), who had been residing at Rajpura, posing as an astrologer.

He was nabbed by the sadar police from the Doraha road and a robbed car, Rs 1 lakh and eight tola of gold were seized. According to the police, he was returning home to Rajpura after receiving his share of the booty.

The police also recovered a huge amount of cash and stolen gold ornaments from his house in Rajpura. A stolen car and a motorcycle were also recovered by the police.

During interrogation, the accused admitted having committing 17 robberies in various parts of the state in the past seven months.

Members of the Jasbir gang barged into the house of a doctor on the Dhandra road and robbed him of 10 tola of gold and cash at gunpoint on November 28.

Jasbir admitted that he, along with four members of his gang, forcibly entered the house of Dr Baldev Singh on the pretext of receiving emergency treatment at 5 am.

When the doctor opened the gate, two members of the gang took out their firearms and robbed the doctor and members of his family of cash and jewellery.

According to SHO Navreet Singh, the accused had a criminal past and had been in and out of jail in connection with 10 cases of robbery and theft.

He had formed the gang in jail along with four other accused, who were undergoing jail terms for similar offices, and started operating in the Malwa and Doaba regions.

The accused used to shift quickly to dodge the police. Jasbir did not stay at one place for more than two months.

He was a smart operator and had access to all kinds of anti-social elements. During interrogation, Jasbir admitted to drug peddling and nickel theft from factory units.

He had also transferred mobile phones and SIM cards inside jails. He used to change his identity while shifing to a new place.

According to the police, before robbing the doctor, he had visited Baldev’s clinic twice and developed a personal rapport with the victim.

He used to send messages and call the doctor for treatment. He knew where the gold and cash were kept.

The police also launched a manhunt to nab the other four members of the gang. Three stolen cars and 32 tola of gold ornaments were still to be recovered from the accused.



Tehbazari officials fail to deliver
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 2
Even though the tehbazari wing of the MC undertakes anti-encroachment drives everyday, it has failed to clear the city of temporary encroachments.

While handcart vendors are its favourite targets, officials have failed to do anything against others equally guilty of temporary encroachments. Floral gates outside marriage halls and restaurants; tents on roads and vehicles parked outside malls are usually ignored.

Car and scooter bazars held in the city on Sundays could have been discouraged if the tehabazari wing had acted all these years.

Apart from this, automobile workshops on roads and public parking are also a result of the lenient approach of tehbazari officials, who have the power of issuing challans and confiscating vehicles and material. They are even accused of being hand-in-glove with encroachers and taking money from rehriwalas.

Tehbazari officials, however, rued that the MC never tried to empower them. “We are not given full day for undertaking the drive. We are either given a few hours in the morning or after 3 pm. Also, we have only one recovery van,” a tehbazari superintendent said. “Every branch works in the presence of senior officials, but for us, it’s only superintendents.

You will never found a Zonal Commissioner or an Additional Commissioner accompanying us,” the superintendent remarked, adding that “we often become the victim of public fury and are attacked by them, but nobody takes note of our plight. Infrastructure, along with a strong workforce, was a major requirement.”



LIT to carve out new colonies
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, January 2
Carving out new colonies from self-generated funds, providing better amenities and infrastructure in the existing colonies and making the institution more customer- friendly would be among the top priorities of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) in 2010.

Talking to The Tribune after meeting the staff on the first working day of New Year, LIT chairman Ashok Juneja said steps were being taken to dispose off chunks of prime land and built-up properties in an expeditious manner. While the sale of land and properties will bring about much-needed revenue and spur up the development works, it will also save the land from being encroached upon, which led to many a complications later on.

The engineering wing has been directed to prepare a list of such lands and properties, and a few built-up properties are already lined up for being put up on sale through open auction, he added.

Juneja said before seeking the government’s nod for carving out new colonies to meet the ever-increasing need for affordable housing, the focus will be on revenue generation so that the body was in a sound financial health and could meet the cost of acquisition of land for this purpose and carry out the developmental works.

The LIT chairman said the work was in the final stages for the construction of residential flats in various government schemes. “The contractors have been explicitly asked to finish the work soon and we intend to handover the possession of 1,000 flats to the allottees in a month or so. Similarly, work is about to be taken in hand for the constructing 1,100 residential flats for the weaker sections in the 8.8 acre Shaheed Karnail Singh Nagar scheme.”

He said while interacting with the staff earlier in the day, he had given them a clear signal to change their mindset and work culture. “Of late, the people have lost confidence in the institution and it’s commonly projected as a corrupt and non-functional body. It should be the endeavour of each one of the staff member to work with commitment and dedication so as to change the image of the trust,” he asked the LIT employees and officials.

Newly nominated trustees of the LIT Naresh Dhingan and Gurinderpal Singh Pappu were also present at the meeting.



Morning blackout irks residents
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 2
Blackouts during the unscheduled power cuts imposed in morning have caused a lot of resentment among residents and industrialists.

Besides affecting working at industrial units and trade organisations the tendency to impose cuts during early morning has upset the routine and lifestyle of people.

Commuters, students and household women are among the worst affected.

Industry representatives alleged that in addition to the scheduled cuts, the industry was also suffering due to the unscheduled power cuts.

The residents of the town and the surrounding villages are facing power cuts on regular basis. “We fail to understand the necessity of the five hour power cut daily. They could have adjusted the schedule so as to decrease woes of the residents,” argued a resident.

Ravinder Puri, municipal councillor, said even the services provided by the civic body were affected, as water supply and disposal of waste water were also dependent upon the power supply.

He rued that the board authorities had not responded to their appeal to reschedule the power supply.

Sanjiv Singla, an industrialist, said: “The unscheduled power cuts have not only affected production and margins but also the credibility of the industrialists, who are not able to meet their orders. Poor power situation has caused heavy loses to the industry.”

He said the regular power supply should be ensured otherwise many industrial units would be compelled to close down their units.

Jagjit Singh Jaggie, a social worker, and Tarsem Garg, president, CB Welfare Association, said: “Regular power supply seems to be an unachievable task for the PSEB now. The unscheduled cuts not only affect the facilities available to the residents but also their health and routine.”



Dissatisfied, yet cops want wards to don uniform
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, January 2
Despite reported dissatisfaction among a large number of Punjab Police personnel, majority of them still want their children to be adjusted in the uniformed force.

Those who have been waiting for their promotion for years wish to achieve their target in the current year as according to them up-gradation of their rank will increase the chances of their wards getting selected in the police force.

Bleak chances of getting employment for their wards in other fields, without paying consideration for the same was cited as one of the factors for their inclination towards searching jobs for their wards in the police department.

Investigations by The Tribune revealed that a large number of the Punjab police personnel wanted to get their sons and daughters adjusted in their home department. Though they were not satisfied with their achievements yet they preferred to seek the help of their seniors in getting their wards adjusted in the uniformed force rather than ‘bargaining jobs’ for them in other fields.

‘We have asked our seniors to help us in getting our children adjusted in the police. This besides giving us satisfaction of continues dedication to society and the nation will save us from using unfair means to collect money for ‘purchasing’ jobs for children”, said a cop after attending the first meeting of the year with his seniors.

Bhagwant Singh’s, Sadar, like many others, opined that up-gradation of the rank would result in congenial environment for preparing children for getting selected in the police. Dissatisfaction and inferiority complex prevalent among cops due to slow promotions on the other hand would discourage their wards from joining the police.

Responding to questions by Nau Nihal Singh, SSP, Sangrur, during his first meeting with GOs, SHOs and in charges of various wings a few cops disclosed that they wanted to devote some time for their wards studying in foreign countries.

A study undertaken by Mohinder Singh Teji, a PPS officer, had showed that officials in the police headquarters and those posted in the district responded differently to questionnaire given by the official. In general, 20 per cent police personnel were happy with their jobs and 20 per cent were satisfied. Percentage of extremely dissatisfied and dissatisfied was 12 and 6 per cent, respectively.

Meanwhile, cops posted at police stations falling under Sangrur, Ludhiana (Rural) and the Khanna police districts assured their chiefs that they would do their best in achieving targets set by their respective headquarters.

Cops were directed to be more attentive during investigations and surveillance duties. Missing person reports, deaths due to unnatural causes and cases related with spouses, children and girls are to be given tops priority this year. 



Dewan Ludhiana IMA president
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 2
The new team of the Ludhiana chapter of the IMA yesterday pledged to work for ‘green and clean’ city with the help of other medical organisations and NGO’s.

Dr Iqbal Singh Ahuja, chief election commissioner, along with other members Dr Jagmohan Chopra and Dr RS Gulati declared the names of newly elected members of the team for 2010, at IMA house.

The following have been elected office-bearers of the local chapter of the IMA: president-Dr Narotam Dewan; senior vice-president-Dr Satish Naurhia; general secretary-Dr Hardeep Singh; joint secretary-Dr Amarjeet Sing Sachdeva and finance secretary-Dr Satish Ohri.

Dr LS Chawla, former vice-chancellor of Baba Farid university of Health Sciences and former principal of DMCH, Ludhiana, and Dr LS Chawla chaired the meeting. 



Two rounded up for firing, released
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, January 2
The Dakha police rounded up two youths for brandishing firearms and firing shots in air during a religious procession. When the procession passed through the Raikot Road, two youths, including a leading property dealer and a businessman, took out their pistols and fired a few shots in the air.

Both fired six rounds from their pistols. This incident took place in front of a few policemen who were accompanying the procession.

They were immediately arrested. However, no case has been registered against the accused till the filling of this report. An arm dealer was called to the police station to verify the claim of one of the accused who had stated that his firearm was deposited with that dealer

The SHO, however, gave a clean chit to the accused. He stated that it was found, after a probe, not a single shot was fired in the air during the procession. 



Heera makes it big in movies 
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, January 2
Sompal Heera, the thespian writer, has managed to establish himself in theaters after having tasted success as a writer, director and an actor of a few Punjabi plays, serials and documentaries.

He rocked the theatre in his very first release “Heer Ranjha” after viewers in 129 countries, where it was released in December, applauded his role though brief.

Sompal is now eagerly awaiting for more good roles in Punjabi movies especially with Harbhajan Mann, whose younger brother he had enacted in “Heer Ranjha.” He recalls with pride the “lessons learnt and the experience gained while working with the versatile actor and the singer”.

Sompal had earlier created waves in the Punjabi theater through his edifying touches and reformatory approach, with a definite hope, at the same time, to reform every bit of it. The acknowledgement and recognition he got through his plays ‘Saka 47’, ‘Dastane Dil’, ‘Lajja’, ‘Agan Katha’, ‘Tiraskarian Dhian’, ‘Kala Benam Roti’, ‘Ik Rangkarmi di Diary’, ‘Neero di Bansari’ motivated him to compose ‘Solo Natak Sompal Heera De’, the first ever creation by the thespian writer of his caliber. Another creation ‘Rome Jalda Hai’ a full-length play, based on the Indo-Pak relations, enacted at Sri Ram Theater, New Delhi, too, made him a hero of the masses. Another play of his ‘Katha Rukhan Te Kukhan’ was commended first in the zonal festivals organised at Guru Nanak Dev University and the education board.

He also has also six single character plays to his credit. Heera has directed and prepared a number of teams for the zonal, inter-zonal and national festivals. He has also played roles in TV serials as ‘Virasat’ and ‘Mein Goongi Nahin’. His serial ‘Anhoye’ focuses on the torment the Dalits have to undergo at the hands of the affluent community. His documentaries as ‘Guru Teg Bahadur’ and ‘Akali Lehar’ are attack on the so-called social workers who though pose as reformists but indulge in malpractices detrimental for the nationals integrity. His appearance in the video albums of Harjit Harman and Neetu Virk has also earned him popularity.

‘Jeewan, Khushi Te Mehak’, the debut Punjabi play written jointly by Heera and his wife Kamal Dhillon, is focuses on AIDS followed by the physical, mental, psychological and mental repercussions it brings in its trail.

The duo, it seems, is all charged up to initiate their crusade against other related social ills, too, as female foeticide, drug addiction, dowry menace, intoxication and gambling, illicit relations and extra-marital affairs, purposelessness, lack of social order and artificiality in modern standards. “The change brought through live demonstrations is definitely an everlasting one and is sure to touch the inner cords of the sick souls,” Heera adds.



Returns must be e-filed now
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 2
The Excise and Taxation Department has made e-filing of returns mandatory for those traders who have got their VAT registration numbers.

The department has made the e-filing compulsory for the third quarter, October to December, to streamline the system and save time.

Sources in the department said they were giving passwords for e-filing on the spot with the VAT registration number so that traders were not inconvenienced.

Earlier VAT e-filing was compulsory for those persons who were claiming refund under the VAT Act, who had conducted or were conducting inter-state sale and purchase, who were exporting goods and whose turnover was more than Rs 5 crore.

A source in the department said previously, a lot of time was being consumed in carrying out the process manually and unscrupulous elements used to enlist bogus firms and show their turnover in crores.

In the last quarter, a total of 90,000 VAT returns were filed, which was expected to rise to 1,00,000 this time.

The last date for paying tax by cheque was January 20 while those who were not paying tax could file their returns by January 30.

Jatinder Khurana, president of the Taxation Young Lawyers Association, said traders had faced problems in the previous quarter and some of them did not receive their passwords in time.

The server of the department was very slow in the previous quarter and it took nearly two hours to file one return, he said.

Making the e-filing of returns mandatory was a good step, but the department should upgrade its system," he added.



Changing society outlook, their motto

The Tribune spoke to a few young achievers from the city who plan to bring about a change in their respective fields in 2010. These youths are from the field of sports, fashion, medical science, politics and NGOs who are selflessly working for the cause of human welfare.

“I’m looking forward to New Year with great expectations, especially on the professional front. Presently, I am recovering from a back injury and working hard on my fitness. So, making a comeback will top my priority in 2010. Hopefully, Unlike 2009 New Year will be good for me. I hope and pray that 2010 brings peace and prosperity for everyone.” —Karan Goel, cricketer

“I’ am working hard to do well in Commonwealth Games to be organised in New Delhi this year. My performance in the Asian Badminton Championship organised in Indonesia and Berlin open championships early this year has made confidant. In New Year, I want to make Indians proud of me.” — Pranav Chopra, badminton player

“My aspiration is to manage my accounts well. Since I am a spendthrift I would love to spend judiciously. I will also come up with a nice winter collection for my brand. Bright coloured long coats will be hot in winters. So I plan to add an extra style to them”. — Vipasha Chauhan, fashion stylist

“My aspiration for the coming year will be to make people aware of the real, fake and treated diamonds. Numerous people are being duped, as they cannot differentiate between the real and fake diamonds. I want to educate the masses about the same. I will also get married in New Year. I will take a short break from my work but will never quit it, as I love to play with jewels. I have kept my fingers crossed for my new life ahead. My aspiration for New Year is to be happy and keep my family happy as well”. — Nidhi Chawla, jewellery designer

“Former President Abdul Kalam’s Vision 2020 is a motivating factor for me. I want to spread his vision among masses, especially those studying in schools and colleges because they are the ones who can make a big difference. Apart from it, I will concentrate on campaign against the division of states. We need to inculcate feeling of being Indians and that is possible if we rise above our states, communities and religion.” — Navneet Chauhan, general secretary, ABVP

“Since I am a nature lover I will love to visit new places and paint them on my canvas. I wish to exhibit my paintings this year. In addition to this, on New Year I will pray to God to give good health and happiness to every individual on the earth. Hopefully, 2010 will be a good year for everyone.” — Smriti Bedi, painter

“I want to make the most during New Year and enjoy it to the fullest with my family and friends. I will try to make every moment of it a memorable one for everyone around me, especially those who touched my life with their care and made it more meaningful. On the professional front, I have a serial coming up on Doordarshan as well as a dance competition, for which I auditioned recently. Rest will follow.” — Zoya Verma, child artiste

“Having worked for years in the field of cardiac surgery, I have come across dozens of patients who can’t afford to undergo expensive surgeries. I have formed a society in the name of the Cardiac Sehyog Society, which will incur the expenses of three to four patients in need of cardiac surgery every year. I will make sure that patients coming to me for surgery in 2010 don’t forgo their surgery due to financial constraints.” —Dr Sarju Ralhan, cardiac surgeon

“The NGO has already taken up the cause of making the city “greener and cleaner” for which 2010 will have us fighting against pollution also which is defeating the purpose of every environment-friendly individual and organisation. I along with my colleagues will tirelessly campaign in schools, colleges, clubs and other public places to bring people closer to nature. Also, we plan to involve young students, teachers, and professionals for creating awareness among masses.” — Harmohinder Singh, president, Punjab Youth Forum



This road stretch is accident prone
Our Correspondent

Khamano, January 2
A 15-km stretch of the Ludhiana-Chandigarh road from Jatana Ucha village to Khant in the Khamano subdivision is prone to accidents.

Forty lives were lost in 2009 and hundreds of persons were seriously injured. Machinery worth lakhs was also wasted due to the accidents.

The government and officials concerned had failed to take special steps to control the recurrence of accidents so far. Various governments had declared that National Highway 95 would be widened, but nothing had been done on the ground.

Only a 3-km stretch of the road falling in Khamano had been widened. The road was higher than the soil around it.

No one had cared to put sand on both sides of the road, as a result of which two-wheeler riders used to fall off.

There were trees and bushes near the edge of the road at many places which had not been trimmed and many vehicles had rammed into those.



Nine get Shabad Yug award
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 2
Prof Puran Singh Dhami Awards constituted by Alag Shabad Yug Charitable Trust were conferred on nine eminent personalities serving humanity in various fields.

The recipients of the awards were Prof Ram Singh, Prof Swarn Singh Virk, Prof Pirthipal Singh Sohi, Baljit Singh Brar, Dr Nirmal Singh, Dr Babita Jain, Amarjit Singh Gujral, Rana Inderjit Singh and Kirpal Singh Sandhu.

Dr Sarup Singh Alag, chairman of the Trust, congratulated the awardees and presented the report of the trust activities. The panel comprised Jagir Kaur Dharni, Jathedar Avtar Singh Makkar, Charanjit Singh Atwal, Bhagwan Singh, Surinder Singh Namdhari and Hakam Singh Giaspura. 



Man duped of Rs 50 lakh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 2
A resident of Delhi has been booked for allegedly duping a landlord of Rs 50 lakh on the pretext of providing him a car agency.

Rupinder Singh, the victim, who resides at Payal village, alleged that accused Rajinder Singh, the resident of Delhi, had assured him to provide the car agency of an international company to him. The accused had taken Rs 50 lakh from him in this regard.

Rupinder alleged that the accused grabbed the entire amount and refused to part with it. At this Rajinder Singh was booked under Section 420 of the IPC. 



4,450 DVDs seized
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, January 2
The local police has arrested Sanjeev Kumar, a resident of gali No 6, Gandhi Nagar, for allegedly running an illegal business and seized 4,450 DVDs, VCD and MP3.

Companies suffered a huge loss due to this. A case under Sections 51,52A, 63 and 68A of the Copyright Act 1957 was registered against the accused. 



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