L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


6 hurt as cylinder explodes
Tribune News Service

The LPG cylinder that was the cause of a fire after it exploded
The LPG cylinder that was the cause of a fire after it exploded. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Ludhiana, January 27
Six persons were injured, two critically, after an LPG cylinder burst at New Kundanpuri late last night. The injured have been identified as Jagwanti (60), her son Rajkumar (35), Harish Kumar (27), Guddi (25), Aalam and Mohd Aslam.

While Harish, Guddi and their tenants Aalam and Aslam escaped with minor burns, the condition of Jagwanti and Raj Kumar, who sustained 10 and 35 per cent burns, respectively, was serious. They were taken to the DMCH last night.

According to Krishan Chand, owner of the house, the incident took place at around 10.30 pm when their tenants and their two friends were cooking dinner in their room on the first floor.

Suddenly, the cylinder caught fire, following which the tenants raised the alarm.

Krishan Chand, a retired post office employee, along with his grandchildren, rushed outside the house and asked neighbours help douse the fire.

In the meantime, Raj Kumar, Jagwanti, Guddi and Harish, went to recover domestic goods. Just then the cylinder exploded and the fire spread to rooms situated on the ground floor.

Jagwanti and Rajkumar, who were standing at the porch, sustained burns and some rubble also fell on them. The others standing near the entrance gate also sustained minor burns.

According to police sources, the tenants had procured the cylinder on the black market. No case has been registered yet.


Expired cylinders in circulation
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 27
Repeated accidents of cylinder blasts have put a question mark on the working of gas agencies and the department of food and civil supplies who have failed to check “unauthorised” supply of LPG cylinders.

Regarding today’s blast, neither the owners of the house nor the police has been able to confirm the validity of the gas connection.

A large number of expired cylinders are in circulation in the market and are being refilled illegally, but the department concerned has been unable to take action against offenders.

The LPG sales and marketing manager of the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Munish Gupta, expressed ignorance about the incident. “We would have definitely known about the incident if it had been a registered connection, but it is only in the case of unauthorised connections that the consumers do not come forward with complaints. I will personally investigate the incident since the gas cylinder was of Indane,” he said.

He urged LPG consumers to go in for only registered gas connections to ensure the safety of their family. “Every cylinder undergoes pre-delivery check at the gas agency and the cylinder is immediately replaced if there is a minor complaint of leakage or lose connection. Also, Indane gives an accident insurance up to Rs 10 lakh to its bona fide consumers,” he added.



MC set to exceed Rs 173-crore revenue target
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 27
With the MC collecting around Rs 140 crore through its internal resources till January 2010 in the current fiscal, it is likely to surpass its target of Rs 173 crore revenue. According to sources in the revenue collection, the MC tops Punjab among civic bodies and the long struggle for funds is likely to end now.

The collection of Rs 140 crore includes house tax, water and sewerage tax, advertisement and building fee and the tehbazari wing.

Municipal Commissioner AK Sinha said: “We are optimist that the Rs 173-crore target would be achieved during February and March. The recovery by various departments is going on at a good pace.”

Exceeding the revenue target would mean more development projects for the city. A senior official, requesting anonymity, said the Municipal Commissioner was planning some big projects. “While the survey for a double-decker bridge over the Jagraon bridge to the consultancy firm, RITES, has been approved by the F&CC, some other projects are also being worked upon,” he said.

The sources said the Commissioner did not mind asking other departments like GLADA and PIDB to lend a helping hand for the projects.

Senior Deputy Mayor Praveen Bansal said: “It’s good that the MC is finally on the path of generating funds for development. If the civic body has its own funds, dependence on the state government would be reduced and it would help councillors and officials to undertake development works according to the budget.”



Key city projects to be completed by 2011: CM
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 27
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said all major projects taken up in the city including the Ludhiana-Doraha express highway and a sewerage treatment plant as also the Ludhiana Chandigarh rail link would be completed by next year.

Addressing a mammoth gathering at a function at Government College on Republic Day, Badal lauded the state’s contribution to India’s freedom struggle, remarking “80 percent of the country’s heroes and martyrs who laid down their lives for its independence belonged to Punjab”.

“Bhagat Singh, Lala Lajpat Rai, Udham Singh, Kartar Singh Sarabha, Rajguru and Sukhdev dreamt of making India a strong nation but the dream seems to have been lost with the country still fighting against economic disparity, unemployment, corruption and poverty” he said.

Underlining the need to maintain “communal harmony” and peace, Badal made a firm resolve to maintain law and order in the state and vowed to take “stern action against the culprits responsible for creating law and order problems”.

“The people of Punjab had already paid a heavy price for bringing peace to the state after a decade of militancy. The SAD -BJP government is committed to repose the confidence of the public in the state’s law and order machinery”, he added.

On the education front, the chief minister stated three new universities are planned to be set up in Amritsar, Bathinda and Fatehgarh to give an impetus to higher education. Besides, 13 degree colleges and 21 model schools will also be opened to provide quality education to students, he announced.

“A new era of hi-tech skill development programme would get a boost with the setting up of IIT at Ropar. Punjab has been adjudged at the best state by a survey conducted by a leading media house”, he said.

Earlier, Badal inspected the parade and took a salute during an impressive march past by contingents of the Punjab police, home guards and Indo-Tibet Border Police as well as NCC cadets, Bharat scouts and girl guides and ex-servicemen, besides the police band. Students of various local schools and colleges presented a colourful variety programme including ‘bhangra’, ‘gidha’, group dance and PT show. As many as 14 tableaux from various departments depicted ongoing developmental activities of the state government.

On the occasion Badal honoured 13 employees of different government departments in Ludhiana district. They included Navdeep Singh, Pritpal Singh, Bhupinder Singh, Sandeep Kumar Wadera, Mandeep Singh, Surinderjit Singh, Ravinder Singh, Bhusan Jain, Amarjit Singh, Bhim Singh, Sanjiv Kumar, Anil Kumar and Mewa Singh.

Freedom fighters and their families were also honoured and tricycles were given to the physically challenged followed by distribution of sewing machines to poor and needy women.

The chief minister announced a grant of Rs.4 lakh for the schools that had participated in the various cultural activities and declared a holiday for tomorrow in schools in the district.

Among those present at the occasion were president of the Punjab unit of the BJP. Rajinder Bhandari, Punjab Agro Industry chairman Sharnjit Singh Dhillon, Punjab Mandi Board chairman Ajmer Singh Lakhowal and, principal secretary to the CM DS Guru, besides various SGPC members.



Kalia clears air over more taxes
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 27
The implementation of recommendations of the two-member Resource Mobilisation Committee will help get around Rs 7,000 crore from the Centre as Punjab will be able to give its share of Rs 900 crore for various Centre-aided projects.

These include grants under the JNNURM (BSUP), under which flats are built for the economically weaker sections, and provision for improved basic infrastructure like railway overbridges and flyovers.

This was stated by industry and local bodies minister and committee member Manoranjan Kalia while talking to mediapersons here today.

Due to the failure of the Punjab government to waive subsidies and freebies, the Centre had refused funds under the JNNURM several times. As a result, projects under Central schemes had begun only in Ludhiana and Amritsar.

Kalia said the total amount of over Rs 7,900 crore would be used to develop both big cities and small towns of Punjab by providing proper infrastructure.

He also cleared the air over levying more taxes for the collection of an additional revenue of Rs 4,000 crore.

Kalia said, “The common man’s interest was kept in mind before preparing the report. No additional taxes have been levied except VAT surcharge. This has to be done because the Centre has failed to curb inflation.”

He added that VAT had been increased in many states. He termed the report as both government-friendly and public-friendly. He was of the opinion that it would help keep a tab on tax evaders.

“The institutional tax levied on educational institutions outside the municipal limits will not put any burden on the common man,” added Kalia.

Asking for Rs 1 lakh per tower connection from the mobile companies would not be a burden on the public and would help the government get more money, which would be used for development, he added.

The increase in retirement year by one year for government employees would save between Rs 500 crore and Rs 550 crore, he said. He said the 13 focal points across the state would be revived and an industrial hub would come up at Rajpura.



Thieves strike at three shops
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 27
Thieves broke open shutters of three shops falling in the high-security zone near the SCD Government College here late last night. Though the thieves could lay their hands only on Rs 2,500, the incident caused embarrassment to the police as the Republic Day function was organised just 500 metres away.

The incident came to light when an employee of the Kalia sweetmeat shop reached the spot early this morning and found the shutter pulled out. The incident left the police baffled. The cops seemed to be groping in the dark to find how thieves managed the theft amid heavy police presence.

The police tried to keep the matter under the wraps, but the matter came to light when the sweetmeat shop owner had an argument with cops, blaming them for negligence.

The investigating officer confirmed the incident and said though the shutters were uprooted, the thieves could not steal anything.



Cancellation of train bugs passengers
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 27
A group of some 80 devotees, including women and children from Bathinda and other parts of Malwa, bound for Hazoor Sahib (Nanded) by 2716 Sachkhand Express here this morning, were left high and dry due to the last-minute cancellation of the train.

The passengers, who had booked their tickets three months in advance and were accompanied by some NRI relatives, refused the offer of the railway authorities to refund their tickets. They demanded that they be accommodated in alternative trains.

They also threatened to sue the railways for causing harassment. Some of them said they would seek compensation for deficiency in service by moving the consumer forum.

Manjinder Singh, an NRI who had joined his relatives for the pilgrimage, was crestfallen. “All of us were enthusiastic about the journey to Hazoor Sahib. Even after reservation in an express train, we have been forced to travel in passenger trains in several groups and we haven’t got a place to sit. We will also have to change trains en route to reach our destination,” he lamented.

There were several others who were stranded at the railway station as 4682 Jalandhar-New Delhi Express (via Saharanpur) and 2459 New Delhi-Amritsar Express were also cancelled for the day.

The weather conditions remained the same and a blanket of thick fog covered the entire region. Most trains bound for Amritsar and Jammu were running behind schedule, inconveniencing the passengers.

As per information, 2031 New Delhi-Amritsar Shatabdi was delayed by three hours, 2497 Shan-e-Punjab by four hours, 1057 Dadar Express by four hours, 3005 Howrah Mail by 11 hours, 3307 Kisan Express by nine hours and 3355 Archana Express by 12 hours.



Auction fails to enthuse bidders
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, January 27
The real estate sector is not looking up if the sale of commercial properties in Urban Estate Phase II carried out by an open auction by GLADA here today is any indication.

Of the 28 properties, valued at upward of Rs 45 crore, which were proposed to be sold through auction, only five booths could be disposed of fetching a measly Rs 1.69 crore.

There were no takers for 13 booths, each with a floor area of 22.69 sq yards, and not a single appropriate bid was received for the 10 shop-cum-office (SCO) sites with a reserve price of around Rs 4 crore.

Earlier also, the sale of commercial sites by GLADA at Jamalpur and Dhandari had evoked a lukewarm response from buyers, yielding just about 10 to 15 per cent premium over the reserve price. As far as the auction of commercial sites at Jamalpur was concerned, not all booths and SCOs offered for sale could be sold due to lack of bidders.

Gurbaksh Singh, estate officer who conducted the auction proceedings, said the outcome of the auction was on expected lines and it was not much different from those in the recent past.

He agreed that the realty sector was still far away from a turn around and buyers had adopted a wait-and-watch policy for the time being.



Increase in VAT worries traders
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 27
While the trade and industry is already reeling under slowdown, the state government's proposal to levy 10 per cent surcharge on value added tax (VAT) has been giving sleepless nights to entrepreneurs.

The government has taken this step to increase revenue. According to the new notification, VAT has been increased from 4 per cent to 5 per cent.

Traders will now have to pay 5 per cent VAT on all goods and 10 per cent surcharge on VAT. There has been an approximate 20 per cent increase in VAT collection. Sources revealed that last year, VAT collection was approximately Rs 5,500 crore while this year, it was approximately Rs 7,000 crore.

Even as records showed a significant increase in revenue, the government had still been imposing extra taxes on traders.

Taxation Young Lawyers Association president Jatinder Khurana said implementing an extra VAT instead of octroi was a mere eyewash on the part of the government.

“Ten per cent of the total VAT collection is given to the Punjab municipal fund and no losses are being incurred by the corporation at present,” he said.

Satinder Singh Bath, a trader, reacting to the proposal of the government, said the industry had already been reeling under problems.

“Traders are paying the tax honestly, but no privilege is given to them. The industry is reeling under problems of labour shortage, raw material shortage and power cuts. The extra burden of taxes will prove harmful for us,” he said.



Punjab to press PM on industrial package
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 27
Punjab Industries & Commerce Minister Manoranjan Kalia has asked industry representatives “not to raise a hue and cry” over the subsidies extended by the government to the agricultural sector. “Besides, the need of the hour is to provide relief to industry as mentioned in the present industrial policy”, he said.

After meeting industrialists here today, Kalia assured them a delegation of the ruling SAD party would seek an appointment with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and urge the central government to provide an industrial package for Punjab, as was given to many other states. Opposition leaders would also be invited to join efforts to get New Delhi to concede “this genuine demand for the betterment of the state’s industry”, he added.

At the meeting an industry delegation submitted a memorandum to Kalia. In it Apex Chamber of Commerce & Industry president PD Sharma said: “Before formulating policies for industry the Punjab government shouldn’t overlook the emerging economic regime. Disbursement of subsidies in the name of poverty have to be seen in the background of the state’s industry and other sectors being highly dependent on migrant labour. In this situation where employment is amply available, the question of poverty shouldn’t arise”.

Sharma said the present government had been able to almost double VAT revenues. “This was partly through efficiency and partly through unjustified penalties. Unfortunately, government's unproductive expenditures are going up by the day whereas it should have been otherwise”, he observed.

Sharma said power tariffs were rising due to the crosssubsidisation and supply of electricity free of cost. “Despite this mismanagement the Punjab government has hiked electricity duty to 10 per cent on ad valorem basis. For about 30 years the duty had been at 11 paise per unit on a specific basis. Now with the sharp rise in power tariffs, duty was also increasing accordingly”, said Sharma.

The industry representatives urged Kalia to make electricity duty ‘VATable’ for industry. “Besides, power supply to industrial units should be increased so that production schedules are maintained”, they said.



Security training centres to be set up for youths
Our Correspondent

Khamano, January 27
The government is going to set up training centres in all districts headquarters to train youths in security to check unemployment. This was stated by the CM, Punjab Parkash Singh Badal, after laying the foundation stone of a government polytechnic college at a cost of Rs 12.5 crore at Ranwan, near here.

He said unemployment was the main cause of concern and the government was trying to find ways of employment. Drastic changes in the education system was needed to make it job oriented. The government was going to make a new law pertaining to the right of primary education.

He said the main centre would be set up at Mohali to impart three-month training to the youths so that they may be able to pass Army recruitment tests.

Talking about the condition of schools in the state, he said every school would have the necessary infrastructure, buildings and teachers. Three universities would be set up at Fatehgarh Sahib, Bathinda and Amritsar. Apart from this, 13 colleges would be opened soon. He assured that the administrative complex at Khamano that was pending for the past 18 years would be constructed after March. The technical education minister said there were 300 ITIs, 82 colleges and 116 polytechnic colleges in the state.



CM comes often, does little
KS Chawla

Ludhiana, January 27
Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal has dominated national functions here since the formation of the SAD-BJP government in February, 2007. He has presided over four functions of unfurling the National Flag of the six held so far. One was presided over by the Punjab Governor and the other by Sukhbir Singh Badal.

Immediately after the formation of the SAD-BJP government in Punjab, the Chief Minister unfurled the National Flag at the Independence Day function in 2007.

This was followed by the hoisting of the National Flag on Republic Day in 2008 and again on August 15, 2008.

The Republic Day function in 2009 was scheduled to be presided over by the then Governor Gen SF Rodrigues.

He came late to the function and the flag-hoisting ceremony was performed by Rameshinder Singh, the then Chief Secretary.

On Independence Day in 2009, Sukhbir Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Minister, unfurled the National Flag.

The Chief Minister was the chief guest again at the Republic Day function yesterday. Residents’ major grouse was that he had not been taking interest in development here.

He might have paid about a hundred visits to the city, but had never met its citizens to know their problems and grievances.

For the past three years, he had not held a single meeting of the district grievances committee or the district planning board to discuss development plans of the city and the district.

The Chief Minister had held about a dozen ‘sangat darshan’ programmes before the general election and made announcements for development grants, but the municipal corporation had not received any money yet.

The state government had provided Rs 40 crore under the ‘sangat darshan’ grants announced by the Chief Minister, but later declared that it was a loan to the municipal corporation, with PUDA now pressing for the return of the loan.

About a month back, the corporation had started an anti-encroachment drive following directions of the high court, which had been successful so far.

Officials of the corporation had resisted political pressure. The city was likely to see some changes in the next two months.



Infighting on in SAD
New alignments in the local unit of the party are likely. The alignments will take place in view of the Assembly elections in 2012, which will be held on the basis of new segments. Ludhiana has seven segments now
KS Chawla

Ludhiana, January 27
With the reshuffle of district observers of the Shiromani Akali Dal by party president Sukhbir Singh Badal to have a better grip over the units, new alignments are likely to take place in the local unit.

Balwinder Singh Bhunder, a senior general secretary, has been looking after the Ludhiana district and urban units for the past 15 years. In the reshuffle, Bhunder has not been given charge of any district.

Bikram Singh Majithia, MLA and Sukhbir’s brother-in-law, has been made district observer. This appointment will have repercussions and the city unit is already divided.

Ludhiana has great importance for the party as the ‘land mafia’ and the ‘sand mafia’ in Ludhiana are supported by the party leadership.

The new alignments will take place in view of the Assembly elections in 2012, which will be held on the basis of new segments. Ludhiana has seven segments now.

Avtar Singh Makkar’s group includes Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Darshan Singh Shivalik and Harish Rai Dhanda, which is supported by Bhagwan Singh Bhau. Jagdish Singh Garcha and his brother Mann Singh Garcha are now feeling isolated.

Hira Singh Gabria’s group includes Hakam Singh Gyaspura and Amarjit Singh Bhatia, Bikramjit Singh Khalsa. As Khalsa’s constituency Khanna has been declared a general category seat, he will have to find a new constituency for the next elections.

Simarjit Singh Bains, who heads the third group, is behind bars in a case of assault at present. His associate Kanwaljit Singh Karwal is also in jail. Bikram Singh Majithia supports the Bains brothers and has allegedly been trying to get them out of jail.

The second SIT team has conducted another investigation into the case. It has submitted its report and has reportedly found Bains innocent.

Infighting has been going on in the local unit for the past many years, but no effort has been made to sort out differences among the leaders so far. Parkash Singh Badal also has been keeping mum over the situation. The infighting among local leaders has resulted in the lack of development and the performance of the municipal corporation has been poor.

Residents have been crying hoarse over development and neither the Chief Minister nor his deputy have shown interest in the development of the city.



Residents’ initiative going strong
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 27
Demolition drives undertaken by the MC in commercial areas have started having an impact on residential areas, too, as residents have started removing encroachments on their own.

An example of it was witnessed at Kitchlu Nagar, where the residents -- for the past few days -- have been removing structures like footpaths and parks that have been made beyond the building line.

The Kitchlu Nagar residents’ association president, Varinder Bhakoo, said: “The reason behind the movement was to lend a helping hand to the civic body and tell officials that the residents support them. Since, the anti-encroachment drive comes following the Punjab and Haryana High Court orders, we decided to abide by the law.”

He said some residents and shopkeepers opposed the move, but they were also convinced. The residents stated that after witnessing demolition at the Jawahar Nagar camp area they realised that the MC was not going to spare any resident on the issue of encroachment.

They were of the opinion that the removal of encroachments would clear chaos on roads and help motorists.

They asked other residents of the city to remove all constructions beyond the building line so that the municipal corporation could be helped to beautify the city.



City not kind to its elephants
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 27
The city is home to maximum elephants in the state, but it treats the gentle giants rather badly. Of the total 18 elephants in Punjab, as many as 12 are in the city alone and six in Chhatt Bir Zoo. All of these have been held captive by their masters, who are slum dwellers and use the animals as a source of livelihood.

These are the revelations of a census of elephants in the state carried out under Project Tiger of the Union Government.

The census further revealed that the elephants are housed in a slum under a flyover in Ludhiana. Hygiene is poor and the conditions unsuitable for housing the elephants.

Following the startling census report on the condition of the elephants, the state government, on the directions of the Centre, has constituted a committee for setting guidelines for the care and maintenance of captive animals in the state.

The Chief Wildlife Warden of Punjab, RK Luna, has appointed Gurmeet Singh, Deputy Chief Wildlife Warden, Punjab, Dr Sandeep K Jain, member of the Punjab State Board for Wildlife, Divisional Forest Officer, Ludhiana, Vishal Chauhan, and Dr Nirmaljit Singh of Chhatt Bir Zoo, members of the committee.

The report had indicated that municipal taps were being used for water needs of the animals and no access to perennial source of flowing water for bathing was available for them. They maintained water was needed to maintain the body temperature and proper physiological functioning of the animals.

The elephants are made to walk on tarred roads even as their feet are sensitive to hard surfaces and they are made to walk 20-60 km a day on road.

Their masters use them for marriage purposes, make them wander in rural areas for alms and participate in religious functions and advertisement campaigns. They work in peak summer months in soaring temperature of 46 degree Celsius and for 12 hours a day without water, food and shade.

Several NGOs of the city had already given a representation to the state government that they were ready to adopt the animals by erecting shelters for them. It is yet to yield any result.



Lecturer gets UGC research project
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 27
A research project titled “Protection of human rights of children - study of child labour in India” has been sanctioned to principal investigator, Dr Sunil Khosla, a senior lecturer at the postgraduate department of political science, Arya College, by the UGC. An amount of Rs 6,38,000 has been sanctioned for the project.

The research project seeks to examine the causes of child labour and why it was continuing despite various legislations and enactments. The study would focus on the study of societal attitudes, lack of compulsory education and poverty in particular and inadequate income, migration to urban areas, population explosion and illiteracy in general. “The target age group of children is between 5 to 14 years,” he said.

The project intends to monitor the implementation of the programs and schemes of the government for the elimination of the child labour as well as the steps taken for the substantial improvement in the quality of education to enable all children to achieve essential levels of learning.

It would focus on the role of NGOs and civil society organisations in sensitising the issue of child labour, creating awareness, motivating parents to send children to school, and organising sessions for children and parents.

The proposed study seeks to examine the relevant constitutional and legislative provisions, their enforcement and the programmes being undertaken in India for the protection of rights of the children targeted to eliminate child labour.



Bus fare hike draws flak
Our Correspondent

Doraha, January 27
Various social organisations and Left parties have criticised the recent hike in bus fares. “The 13 per cent increase is a burden on the common man,” rued Jandeep Kaushal, chairman of the All-India Federation of Democratic Youth.

Lakhwinder Singh Bowani, district general secretary of the Marxist Communist Party of India (United), said “It is hard to fathom how the increase in bus fares will benefit the state exchequer as most busy routes are in the hands of private transporters. It seems that the fares are increased to benefit private transporters, many of whom are close associates of the ruling party.”

Pawan Kumar Kaushal, co-convener of the All-India Centre of Trade Unions, said, “The people of Punjab are aware of the anti-people policies of the government. It is better for the government to cut down on its expenses instead of burdening the common man for its personal gains.”



Anti-corruption body member attacked by duo selling bhang
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 27
A member of the city’s anti-corruption committee, Rajeev Kumar, who is a businessman, was attacked with a sword while trying to stop a Nihang man and his son Inderpal from selling bhang to area residents including minor children in Muradpura near Dhuri Line, Vishkarma Puri and Dera Kalsian.

The incident took place on January 25 when Kumar came across Sukha Singh and his son selling glasses of bhang to schoolchildren for Rs 3 each. When asked to stop the duo attacked Rajeev Kumar with a sword and carried on selling bhang.

The members of the anti-corruption committee immediately went to the police station in Vishkarma Chowk. However, the cops on duty refused to register an FIR on the pretext of the "weak" evidence of injury marks, instead asking the complainant to “reach a compromise” with the Nihang and his son.

Thereafter, the angry residents took the law into their hands and razed the ‘khokha’ (vend) where Sukha and his son sat and sold bhang. The residents stated both father and son had been selling bhang in the area for a long time from a temporary ‘khokha’ near the rail tracks at the rear of the new cycle market. They said they had told the duo several times not to sell bhang to minors and youngsters. “However, they continued doing so as they were backed by the law enforcers”, the residents alleged. A resident complained the practice has been brought to the notice of the police and the health & family welfare department more than once but nothing had been done so far. "We suspect Sukha was mixing some drugs with the bhang in order to make students and young people permanent addicts”, the resident added.Doctors say excessive consumption of bhang leads to hallucinations, palpitations and disorientation of space and time and can even cause permanent damage to the nervous system.

Anil Kumar, another member of the city’s anti-corruption committee, stated a large number of chemists and drug stores in the areas adjoining Dhuri Line were selling ‘schedule H’ drugs including cough syrups without prescription, which he said had led to a rise in the number of addicts in the area.

"Despite repeated complaints the drug inspector has failed to take any action against these chemists," he alleged. Ludhiana Civil Surgeon Dr Maninderjit Singh said, "Bhang doesn’t fall under the purview of the health department and it’s for the police to take action against its sale. However, we can take samples in order to check if the suspect is mixing some ‘scheduled H’ drugs”.



One killed, three hurt in accident
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, January 27
A youth was killed and three injured in an accident involving a car and two motorcycles. The deceased was identified as Hardeep Singh, alias Money (22). He and his cousin Kulwinder Singh of Manjit Nagar were going towards Ludhiana on a motorcycle (PB10BZ-0493) when an Alto car (DL3CAD-8742), coming from the Ludhiana side, hit them head on.

After hitting them, the car, being driven by Tarsem Singh of the Ladhey Shah road at Jagraon, went out of control.

It hit another motorcycle (PB10CF-1627), coming from the opposite side, injuring Tejinder Singh and Amrit Singh of Madhopur.

They were admitted to the DMCH, where Hardeep succumbed to injuries. An eyewitness said all four seemed to know each other and were talking to each other while moving.

The car hit them while trying to overtake a truck. The Dakha police booked Tarsem under Sections 279, 337, 338, 427 and 304-A of the IPC.



SAI trials from today
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, January 27
The Sports Authority of India (SAI) training centre will organise trials to select players for the 2010-11 session at the multipurpose sports complex from January 28 to 30. According to Harbans Singh, in charge of the centre, the players will be selected in six disciplines for residential and non-residential schemes.

Boys will be selected for athletics, weightlifting, handball and basketball while boys and girls will be selected for judo and volleyball.

Players who have secured the first three positions at national or state-level competitions and are in the age group of 14 to 18 years are eligible for the trials.

The players selected under the residential scheme will be provided free board and lodging, sports kit, competition exposure, medical and education allowances, insurance cover and training.

Those selected under the non-residential scheme will be provided stipend, sports kit, insurance cover, equipment and training.

Aspirants have been advised to report to the registration committee of the discipline concerned at 10 am tomorrow.

They are required to bring their sports kit, photocopies of age proof and its original, two passport-size photographs and attested copies of sports-achievement certificates.

They will have to make arrangements for own stay during the trials and no TA or DA will be given.



Ludhiana cagers win
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, January 27
Competition in basketball, football and kabaddi, besides bullock cart races and dog races, were held today during the 37th annual sports festival being organised by the Amarjit Grewal Sports Club at Gujjarwal, about 20 km from here.

In basketball (boys), Ludhiana began their campaign on a sound note with 51-40 win over Muktsar and then outperformed Kapurthala 59-50.

In the girls’ section, Ludhiana Basketball Academy outplayed Indian Air Force Station, Halwara, 31-11.

In football, Dango bet Nangal 3-0, Saholi pipped Gujjarwal 3-2, Mahima Singh Wala beat Leelan 1-0, Jassowal prevailed over Latala 4-3, Sarabha defeated Abuwal 3-2 and Khaira outplayed Gujjarwala 1-0.

In kabaddi (52 kg), Natt Burj beat Gujjarwal 26-14, Kalakh B beat Saholi 21-8, Lohgarh beat Threeke 16-6, Gujjarwal beat Hassanpur 14-7, Kalakh A beat Badundi 16-14, Barsal bt Dhurkot 15-4 and Rabbon beat Burj Hari Singh Wala 5-1.

In the 62 kg group, Kheri Khurd beat Buthari 10-3, Raulan beat Jodhan 12-1, Mangewal beat Ghawadi 10-1, Phallewal beat Ramgarh 16-7, Jhand bt Kaunke Kalan 17-16 and Khattra bt Siar 8-1.

In the bullock cart race heats, Mantej Singh of Gujjarwal, Ranjodh Singh of Alamgir, Avtar Singh of Aassi Kalan, Davinder Singh of Sahibana, Jagroop Singh of Jargarhi, Bela Singh of Dehlon, Kamal Singh of Lehal, Prem Singh of Malakpur, Parminder Singh of Gujjarwal and Tony of Kalakh came out triumphant to advance to the next round.



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