L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


10-year old dies in accidental firing
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 7
Wedding celebrations turned tragic at the Jassowal village, near here, when a youth shot a boy after opening fire with a licensed .12-bore gun of the bride’s father. The 10-year-old boy, Gagandeep Singh, who was the son of a neighbour of the bride’s family, bled to death.

The gun was allegedly fired by the bride’s brother, Sandeep Kumar, accidentally during ladies’ ‘sangeet’ last night.

The Ludhiana sadar police booked three persons for murder. They were identified as Surinder Pandit, the bride’s father, his son Sandeep Kumar and Jasbir Singh, a guest.

The incident took place when friends and relatives of Surinder Pandit were dancing last night and Sandeep started firing in the air with his father’s gun.

Unable to control his craze for firing in joy, Jasbir asked Sandeep to give him the gun for the purpose.

Not waiting for his turn, he tried to snatch the weapon, which led to the gun going off, with the bullet piercing Gagandeep’s thigh.

A profusely bleeding Gagandeep was shifted from one hospital to another. He was declared brought dead at a multi-specialty hospital in Ludhiana around 11 pm.

The accused, in an attempt to evade action, told the hospital authorities that the child was injured in an accident. Doctors came to know about the actual cause of death and informed the police. The police then swung into action.

A police party initiated a probe into the sequence of events leading to the death of the child. The police was yet to arrest the accused and seize the weapon.



‘Who should be blamed?’
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 7
Waiting for their son’s body to arrive, Baljit Singh Balli, a labourer from Jassowal village, and his wife Kulwant Kaur, are cursing the time when they allowed their younger son Gagandeep to join the wedding celebrations of a daughter of their neighbours last night.

“Who should be blamed for the death? Had we known that death could come like that, we would have never have allowed him to go there,” said a sobbing Balli.

Gagandeep studied at a school in Bihla village. Fatigued with the day’s work, Balli preferred to sleep instead of joining the ‘sangeet’ celebrations last night.

Though Kulwant was present at the house of Surinder Pandit, she did not go to the roof where Pandit’s friends and relatives were dancing.


Sterlisation of stray dogs
Doubts cast over firm
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 7
While the Doggie Lane, appointed by the municipal corporation, is ready to start the sterlisation of stray dogs in the city from Wednesday after securing a tender for Rs 3.2 crore, a section of society, including veterinary doctors, animal experts and residents, have expressed doubt over the company’s profile and feel that the company has no experience of managing such a big project.

“The company has not sterilised over 1,000 stray dogs in the last two years. How can we expect them to undertake operative procedures for over 18,900 stray dogs. The company does not have a good and competent infrastructure to handle such a large number. The corporation has closed its eyes while awarding the project,” said a doctor working with the Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University.

  • MC will pay Rs 550 per male and Rs 640 per female to the company
  • An extra Rs 20 will be paid for one shot of anti-rabies vaccine per dog
  • Collars and ear-notchings will be used to identify dogs operated upon
  • MC will pay the company according to the census it submits at the end

Some persons said, “The company or NGO hired by the corporation should at least have postgraduate veterinary doctors, but enquiries have revealed that the company is being run by some veterinary graduates.”

They suspected that the allotment of tender to the firm involved corruption and officers in charge had overlooked many important aspects before allotting the project.

Investigations revealed that the Amritsar-based company had, till date, undertaken two projects, one of sterilising 500 stray dogs at the Amritsar Cantonment in 2008 and the other of sterilising around 300 stray dogs at Ajnala, which was currently under way.

The dogs would be taken to Alamgir, where the company would set up a veterinary hospital for undertaking the project.

Doggie Lane owner Dr HPS Judge said, “I have been associated with the New Delhi-based Jeevashram Foundation for the past three years. I agree that we do not have much experience. This is the reason we have decided to take the project on a no-profit, no-loss basis.”

He further said, “We do not promise that stray dogs will stop biting because we are giving just one anti-rabies vaccine to the dogs. The project is basically a sterlisation programme and not an anti-rabies drive. As far as facilities are concerned, we have a building at Alamgir that is being converted into a veterinary hospital with two operation theatres and generator facility.”

He added that the animal husbandry department had given a census population of 18,900 dogs within Ludhiana MC limits.

The Doggie Lane team comprised four dog-catchers, two drivers, five surgeons, two assistant surgeons and safai karamcharis.

The company would catch around 150 dogs daily and between 25 and 30 surgeries would be undertaken everyday.

The city would be divided into four zones and work would start from inner areas. The first target would be the Kitchlu Nagar and an area in the Ward Number 5.



Thieves’ Ingenuity: Target road premix
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 7
Have you ever heard of a road being stolen? The answer is obviously no. This strange incident has come to light at the dry port area of the Focal Point here. Shopkeepers have alleged that some miscreants have stolen a portion of the road.

The road was intact around three months ago, but the patch of premix on a stretch measuring a few metres was taken away one night.

The shopkeepers were surprised, but they thought that the corporation had removed it to recarpet the road. It was over three months now, but the road was not recarpeted.

Rajwinder Singh of the Samra Transport said, “Almost every road of the dry port is broken. This was the only stretch where you will find a premix-laid road. Around three months ago, when the stretch disappeared, we thought that it might have been done by the contractor appointed by the civic body.”

Darbara Singh of the Grewal Road Care and Ajit Pal Singh of the Panjrath Road Company said, “Roads of the dry port area are in a pathetic condition. Around 300 truck-trailers and other heavily loaded vehicles pass through the industrial area of the Focal Point, but MC officials and the area councillor are not paying any heed to it. If this is the infrastructure being provided, you can think of the impression it will give to international traders who visit the city.”

Khera Trailer Syndicate owner Surjit Singh said, “The roads of the area are accident prone. People on two-wheelers and truck drivers often lose control due to huge pits and uneven muddy roads. Many cyclists and pedestrians have been hurt or killed on the risky dry port roads.”

They said they had heard that the MC had invited tenders for the purpose, but asked whether work would ever start here.



IMA rejects Clinical Establishment Bill
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, February 7
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has rejected the proposed Clinical Establishment Bill in its present form, which is slated to be presented before the Parliament in the next session.

During the general house meeting of the body here last evening, the IMA resolved to reject the Bill as it violated the Hippocratic Oath, which stated that members of the medical profession would maintain the dignity of the profession.

Coordinating the discussion, IMA president Dr Narottam Dewan said the national council, which would be the governing body, as laid down in the Bill, would be composed of quasi-literate persons drawn from Unani, Siddha, nursing and paramedical streams.

“We as allopathic doctors refuse to surrender our dignity and profession to these persons. Out of the 18 members of the national council, only two will be medical graduates, one from the Medical Council of India and the other from the IMA. The Bill, if approved, will open the doors for every unqualified person to get registered under the guise of Yoga, Unani, Siddha, nursing and pharmacy. Registration of all these persons from the same body as qualified allopathic doctors will confuse the illiterate masses and they may fall prey to quacks, putting there lives to risk. The Bill, in the present form, will be suicidal for health services and the damage done will be difficult to repair,” IMA members maintained.

The IMA also raised objection to the power granted to CMOs/Civil Surgeons through this legislation to impose a fine of up to Rs 5,00,000 and to refuse or cancel registration.

There should be a diverse panel of doctors from state health services, the MCI and the IMA to take a final decision in this regard, they said.

The right to appeal in local courts against adverse decisions of the authority set up under the Bill also came up for discussion, with doctors saying the doctors affected should have to right to appeal at local courts. The aggrieved party could approach only the state government.

The IMA members were of the view that the allopathic system of medicine was recognised throughout the world and organised under medical councils at the national and state levels.

“There is a need to strengthen the system of education at the college level and continued medical education for doctors in practice, ” they said.



Police vehicles gather rust
Mohit Khanna

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 7
If problems have been ailing the ongoing scheme of PCR personnel patrolling in motorcycles and mini-buses, the police have no one else but themselves to blame.

Over 50 motorcycles, a majority of which are Hero Honda CBZ models gifted by an industrialist nearly eight years ago, have been gathering rust at the Police Lines.

Nearly 10 mini-buses are being used as a garbage dump. While motorcycles have been kept in a corner near a garage, mini-buses are parked amid wild vegetation.

Though it has been noted in files that lakhs have been spent on the maintenance of the vehicles, the condition of the vehicles tells a different story.

Sources in the department said Hero Honda motorcycles were not liked by cops. They expressed reluctance to drive sports motorcycles and had a liking for Enfield Bullet motorcycles. They spent from their pockets for the maintenance of the motorcycles.

In January, 2008, PCR motorcycles crossed the hundred mark. Cops had then claimed that the motorcycles would bring the crime rate down.

Instead of the crime rate, the number of motorcycles in use had nosedived. Only about 50 PCR motorcycles were now functional.

Cops said most vehicles had been lying non-functional due to the absence of the components required and some had outlived their utility.

The excuses seemed to hold no ground as the vehicles were not obsolete and could be repaired easily.

Though the department had enough funds for the purpose, it seemed that they did not have the required will to repair those to bring those back into use.

“Hundreds of motorcycles which are 20 years old are being used by people. Why can cops not use vehicles which are 10 years old,” said social activist Varinder Bhakoo.

“This is an example how public money is being misused. Vehicles bought with police money would have been maintained properly,” said Yogesh Kumar of the Civil Lines.

SP Headquarters Harish Kumar said 58 motorcycles had outlived their utility and the department had sent a proposal to the district administration to sell the vehicles, which would be sold after two mandatory advertisements in a national daily.

The fuel price hike was also a reason why motorcycles had been lying unused. The functioning of the motorcycle squad was hit by the drastic cut in fuel supply. The squad, considered the best deterrent to crime, was rendered ineffective.

From unlimited petrol supply eight years ago to seven litres three years ago and finally, three litres now, the motorcycle fleet was forced to stand more on the roadside than patrol city roads.

Banks and other financial institutions were largely dependent on this fleet. PCR bikers had instructions to be around banks at certain times in the day. The squad was now seen standing on roadsides with vehicles parked. Sources said 50 per cent of the bikes were old. With three litres of petrol per day, the squad could patrol between 70 km and 75 km.



Sarpanch booked for locking up excise sleuths
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, February 7
The Sidhwan Bet police has booked three residents of Ramgarh Bhullar village, including the Akali sarpanch of the village, for locking up a team of excise sleuths who had raided the house of the accused last evening.

The incident occurred around 9 when the excise team led by inspector Darshan Singh raided the house of Mohinderpal Kaur in search of illicit liquor stored in the house.

While the team was conducting a search, Rana locked the house from outside, trapping the team inside. The accused threatened the team and offered to release them if they promised not to show the recovered liquor from his house.

He also asked the team to divulge the name of the informer. However, the excise team, which could not recover any liquor from the house of the accused, refused to give the name of the informer. A crowd gathered outside the house of Rana. Darshan Singh called up Sidhwan Bet SHO Balbir Singh and sought help in rescuing them. Balbir Singh reached the scene and rescued the excise team.

He also rounded up Rana to record his statement at the police station. However, Balbir Singh said they had got information that Mohinderpal Kaur, a close relative of an influential leader of the area and sarpanch of Ramgarh Bhullar, had stocked illicit liquor. While nothing was recovered from the shop of the accused, the excise team recovered just two bottles of liquor from the house in a raid conducted later.

The Sidhwan Bet police has booked Rana, Mohinderpal Kaur and Sarabjit Singh.



Rs 20 lakh seized from firm owner
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 7
The owner of a tobacco company, Rakesh Kumar Gupta of Jalandhar Cantonment, was detained for possessing Rs 20 lakh here today. Giving details, Division No. 4 SHO Dharampal said the car was stopped at a police barricade near the Jalandhar bypass during routine checking of vehicles.

The SHO said Gupta was asked to open the boot of the vehicle, but he was reluctant and tried to speed away.

The police then put a barricade in front of the vehicle, forcing it to stop. Gupta flaunted his political and police connections and told the cops to let him go.

The SHO said during a search, Rs 20 lakh was found on the rear seat. When the police asked Gupta about the cash, he did not give a credible reason to the police.

The police informed income tax officials, who told the police to keep the cash in their possession. The SHO said IT officials would initiate action against Gupta tomorrow.

Gupta had reportedly come to the city to collect payment from ‘paan’ shops. Besides running a tobacco company, he owned a chain of marriage palaces in Jalandhar.



Pulse Polio Drive — Day 1
Over 55 pc eligible kids immunised
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 7
Over 55 percent of the targeted children between the age of 0-5 years were immunised against polio on the first day of the three-day pulse polio drive, which got under way in the city and elsewhere in the district today.

Dr Maninderjit Singh, civil surgeon, who administered polio drops to children at Government Dispensary in Haibowal Kalan this morning to launch the campaign, said even though reports were still to come in from supervisory officers, around three lakh children out of 5.80 lakh in the district were covered on the first day.

The civil surgeon, along with Dr Yash Pal Mehta, assistant civil surgeon, and Dr KS Saini, district immunisation officer, also visited Civil Hospital, Revamping Centre, Sabzi Mandi, and Salem Tabri in the urban slums to oversee the administration of polio drops to the children.

According to Dr Singh, 2,173 polio booth were set up in the district, while 108 teams were deployed to cover urban slums and other colonies.

Another 102 teams of volunteers and supporting staff had set up base at the railway station and bus stand to administer polio drops to travelling children.

The teams of para-medical staff and volunteers will go from door to door on February 8 and 9 to immunise children could not be administered the drug on the first day of the campaign.

Over 1,200 children were vaccinated against polio at a polio booth set up in Ambedkar Nagar (Ward No 47) under the supervision of Dr Surinder Pal Kaur, medical officer, Model Town dispensary.

Area councillor Harbhajan Singh Dang and Youth Akali Dal general secretary Jatinderpal Singh Saluja administered polio drops to children at the camp.

Surjit Singh, Om Pal Singh, Kiranpreet Kaur, Vipan Aggarwal, Lalit Sharma, Pooja, Sakshi, Varinder Swami, Balwinder Singh and Shubham Kumar were also present.



Workshop on aesthetic dentistry
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 7
An advanced CDE programme and hands-on training workshop on "Aesthetic Dentistry - A clinical approach to techniques and materials" by Dr Deepak Mehta, reader, department of conservative and endodontics, KLE Institute of Dental Sciences, Bangalore, was conducted at Baba Jaswant Singh Dental College, Hospital and Research Institute here today.

Dr Mehta, a recipient of "best postgraduate student award" from the Federation of Operating Dentistry of India and Indian Endodontic Society, enlightened the students about the importance of aesthetics in modern dentistry. He spoke about all the conventional and contemporary materials and techniques that could be used to make teeth look natural.

Highlighting aesthetic gap closure between the front teeth using nano-hybrid composite, he said nano-hybrid were aesthetic and looked good as these could be polished well, and additionally these had a longer life as compared to ordinary composite fillings.

Pros and cons of composite and porcelain laminate and techniques to improve life of fillings were also discussed.

Dr Mehta conducted a hands-on training workshop for students showing them the ways to treat diastema (gap between the teeth) and reconstruction of broken teeth using layering technique.

Earlier, college principal Dr DS Kalsi shared his knowledge and clinical acumen with the dental students.

Dr KBS Kuckreja, Dr Parvinder Singh, Dr Ekta Suneja, Dr Bharat Suneja, Dr Naveen Oberoi, Dr Saurabh Jain and Dr Aparna Jain were also present.



Training course on feed manufacturing
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 7
To manufacture economical, balanced and quality feed for milch animals, a refresher course on feed manufacturing will be held at Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Ludhiana (GADVASU), in collaboration with the Dairy Development Department, Punjab, from February 8 to 10.

In this course, different feed millers will get know-how to look into the quality of raw materials, formulation of ration for different categories of animals, care of feed machinery etc.

Dr OS Parmar, director of extension education, revealed: “The dairy business is flourishing owing to the stagnation in agriculture and the main expenditure on dairy farming is of cattle feed, so it is important that we should make feed with economical means without compromising on the quality."

The all new technological developments and issues related to the new research should be in the focus, he added.

Dr Parmar said a feed manufacturer must know about the manufacturing technology, including quality of food ingredients, storage, ration formation, standard set up of plant, machinery maintenance and unconventional feed stuffs. He said all these aspects would be discussed during the training.

The training is mandatory after three years for the renewal of the licence of feed manufacturers. Even this course is compulsory for manufacture mineral mixtures for the cattle and buffaloes and who sell and hold feed ingredients for livestock feeding.

Course coordinator Dr Parminder Singh said latest development in the field of feed manufacturing technology, including storage of feed ingredients, formulation for high yielding animals, by pass fat and by pass protein concepts, therapeutic nutrition, use of urea and its precautions, manufacturing of mineral mixture, trouble shooting in mills, rules and regulations of the business will be discussed.



Indians being ‘maltreated’ in Saudi jails
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, February 7
“Scores of Punjabis languishing in Saudi Arabia jails for petty offences are being subjected to maltreatment by jail authorities there,” claimed Ranjit Singh Johal (25) of Rasulpur Jandi village, who arrived here with the efforts of the Indian Ex-servicemen League of Punjab and Chandigarh.

Recounted his harrowing experience for around one month in the Immigration Jail, popularly known as Safari Jail, of Riyadh, Johal said: “Most of the Indians were illegally detained for no fault of theirs. Dozens of prisoners were crammed in cells meant for two persons. Due to maltreatment and malnutrition, two Indian inmates had died recently.”

“There were 250 inmates in room No. 9 of the jail where I was kept. The authorities kept us hungry and barely gave us any food. We were thrashed by guards twice a day. No medical aid was provided if any of us fell ill.”

Briefing mediapersons along with Col Bhag Singh Tihara (retd), president of the Indian Ex-servicemen League, who played a key role in securing his release and journey back to home, Johal said Amar Singh, a fake travel agent of Nakodar, who also had a office at Sudhar town, had sent him to Alzibleen Company Riyadh after taking Rs 1.25 lakh for a two-year work permit.

The company instead of paying him salary confiscated his passport illegally. He got a job in another country but his father fell ill.

He asked Kareem to ensure his passage, who after taking Rs 25,000 from him, handed him over to the Saudi police for staying illegally in that country.

Col Bhag Singh ensured his passage to India after telephonic and email correspondences with Indian High Commissioner at Saudi Arabia, minister of state for external affairs Preneet Kaur and the Embassy of Saudi Arabia, which deputed an officer to check the matter and got the necessary documentation prepared for his travel to India.

He urged the Indian authorities to take up similar cases with the Saudi government and secure their release.



A ‘model’ school, indeed
Charu Chhibber

Tribune News Service

Mullanpur, February 7
Following the mantra of three ‘R’s — reduce, recycle and reuse — Government Girls’ High School, Dakha, near Ludhiana, is indeed a “model” school.

With its own biogas plant, rainwater harvesting and vermin compost pits, waste management pits, herbal and bio-diversity gardens and four well-tended lawns, the school is not only creating world-class citizens out of its students but is also responsible for educating their families and other villagers about environmental issues.

The school authorities are currently working on a recharge well, which will not only manage the water of the school but of the entire village and help raise the water level.

“We have sought the help of experts from Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana, as well as from other institutions,” says school headmistress Manju Bhardwaj.

The school has an auditorium of its own with latest equipment, including a projector, Internet connection, audio-visual devices. It also has a fully-equipped sports room, a sick room and a well-maintained mess.

The next projects on the agenda are installation of solar panels and construction of a water trench plant near the village pond.

“Villagers, especially NRIs from this area, have helped raise the school infrastructure with generous donations in kind and the school staff,” says Bhardwaj.

Recently, the school won a state award for being a “green school” under the Green School Programme of the Punjab Council of Science and Technology.

The campus boasts of 1,250 trees and plants, including over 60 medicinal and herbal plants.

“We distribute saplings of Tulsi, neem and aloe vera free of cost among villagers and encourage students to make optimum use of the medicinal qualities of these plants in case of minor ailments and for beauty purposes,” adds Bhardwaj.

On each tree on the campus, a small bowl is hung full of food grain and water for birds. Leftover from each student’s lunch also goes to the bowl. The school follows a unique custom, wherein each student plants a tree on the school premises on his/her birthday.

The headmistress quips: “We teach our students to manage consumption and conservation of both renewable and non-renewable resources like water, paper, electricity and fuel.”

“We have 300 students. Each one has been taught how to make a smokeless ‘chulha’. And I am proud of the fact that in each of my student’s homes, food is cooked on a smokeless ‘chulha’. This is our bit towards saving the environment. Moreover, it is a better alternative to a traditional ‘chulha’, which poses numerous health hazards.”

“We use only energy saving CFL bulbs on the school campus. This is another trend that has been passed on to the students’ homes,” adds Bhardwaj.

Besides, students do not use polythene, aluminum foils or motorised vehicles and actively participate in rallies and seminars organised by the school authorities on environmental issues along with their families and other villagers.



Commissionerate system raises misgivings among police
Mohit Khanna

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 7
With the police commissionerate system set to come into force in Punjab any time soon, political as well as bureaucratic concerns are coming to the fore. Police officers as well as politicians are debating its likely ramifications while intellectuals are wondering if it is in the public interest or just another political gimmick.

As the new system will significantly increase the powers of the police, politicians belonging to the rival Congress party apprehend the greater powers could be used for engaging in political vendettas.

On the other hand there is a growing bitterness among police officers of DIG rank who have been appointed to head the city’s police force as commissioners. The likely commissioner for Ludhiana, Ishwar Singh, is presently undergoing a weeklong training in Delhi to acquaint himself with the functions of commissionerate system.

It is learnt when the state government proposed the idea of a commissionerate in three districts - Amritsar, Jalandhar and Ludhiana - no DIG reportedly expressed willingness to take up the job.

According to sources, DIGs who have been appointed commissioners are considering the step as a demotion. A police officer of DIG rank heads at least three police districts whereas the Ludhiana commissioner will head only about 17 police stations and that too within the city’s municipal limits. Earlier an SSP held the post that would now be held by a DIG.

Sources close to senior police officials said the commissioners are trying hard to get their area of jurisdiction expanded. It is learnt the city’s commissioner would be given charge of Jagraon and Khanna.

A source close to the police department said the new system was introduced to “please” state legislators in the cities”. “The MLAs will now enjoy much more influence as DSPs, reportedly appointed on the former’s recommendation, would now be entrusted with more powers. Areas of jurisdiction of various police stations are also set to change to suit the legislators”, they added.

Station house officers of the city’s police stations suspect changes in area of jurisdiction would lead to chaos and records of dreaded criminals may be lost in the process.



MC Commissioner to hear RTI cases
Jyotika Sood
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 7
Following the Punjab State Information Commission directions and taking plea of RTI activists seriously that the Municipal Commissioner is the first appellant authority under the RTI Act and has no right to delegate powers, so Municipal Commissioner AK Sinha has decided to hear cases himself on every Wednesday.

The decision was conveyed to the the municipal corporation officials during the first RTI meeting called by the commissioner at his camp office here recently.

Officials attending the meeting said that Sinha said, "I have written to the Punjab government to allow me to delegate the powers to Assistant Commissioner Mahinder Pal Gupta, but till the time any directions come, I will myself look into the cases."

They said it was also decided that after every three weeks a meeting would be held by him of all RTI officers concerned to ensure that the Act was implemented in a proper way and no complaints were received.

The directions included speedy disposal of information to the applicants.

The Municipal Commissioner’s directions included that the officials should take care while providing information so that applicants were not forced to knock on the doors of the State Information Commission.

Interestingly, the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation has been severely criticised several times by the State Information Commission for its indolent attitude towards the Act. Besides, the civic body officials have been penalised too for their easy approach.

Talking to The Tribune, lawyer Saurabh Gupta, who is also an RTI activist, said, "The State Information Commission had directed the Municipal Commissioner to either write to the Principal Secretary, local bodies, and ask him to delegate authority and power to Mahinder Pal Gupta or work himself."

The bureaucrat was only following the orders that had been given during a hearing by an NGO and the Anti-Corruption and Crime Investigation Cell, he added.



Continue fight against price hike, Bhandari to activists
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 7
Accusing the UPA government of destabilising the economy of the nation in general and border states in particular by adopting defective polices, Prof Rajinder Bhandari, former state president of the Bharatiya Janata Party, called upon activists of saffron outfits to continue coordinated struggle against price hike under the leadership of his (Bhandari’s) successor Ashwani Sharma.

Justifying imposition of news levies and taxes by the state government, Bhandari endorsed the demand to review certain issues, including enhancement of property tax.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune after interacting with office-bearers of various saffron outfits, Bhandari blamed the defective policies of the UPA government and unconcern of the Congress towards redressing the problems of common people for destabilising the economy of the nation.

“For first time in the history of India, the government, instead of taking steps to curb price hike, has warned people of further rise in prices of essential commodities. So much so, the defence minister did not hesitate saying that more disastrous terrorist attacks would take place in future,” he lamented.

Claiming that peasants of Punjab had been contributing over 60 per cent share in food bowl of the nation, Bhandari regretted that even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had failed to convince his ministers to provide special facilities to farmers of the border state.

“When a delegation of BJP and SAD leaders, led by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, asked the Prime Minister to do something for debt-ridden farmers of Punjab, instead of giving positive response, the PM said he would ask Sharad Pawar to consider the case,” said Bhandari.

Expressing gratitude to leaders and activists of the BJP and the Bharatiya Yuva Morcha for the support and cooperation extended during the past three years, Bhandari called upon constituents of all saffron outfits to continue struggle against price hike under the leadership of newly nominated president Ashwani Sharma.



Massacre of Sikhs by Abdali’s army
Proposed memorial in doldrums
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 7
A pennant erected on a mound amidst ruins of a site at Rohira village, where 35,000 Sikhs were massacred by Ahmed Shah Abdali’s army on February 5, 1762, is all that stands as a testament to the brutality.

The site could have been developed into a befitting memorial but for the indifference of successive governments and Sikh religious organisations.

After politicians, irrespective of their alliances, tried to draw mileage by announcing grants for the proposed memorial announced by the Chief Minister, some religious leaders have aroused a bitter controversy over the selection of the site for the proposed monument.

The memorial was announced two years ago. Investigations by The Tribune revealed that Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had authorised the then Member of Parliament Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa to acquire land for the construction of a memorial at Rohira to commemorate the sacrifices of 35,000 Sikhs.

Before the administration could start the process of acquiring the land, a group led by organiser of a gurdwara started demanding a memorial at Kup da Tota, where 12 persons were killed during the “rasta roko andolan” on April 4, 1983.

Office-bearers of the trust running the affairs of the gurdwara, on the other hand, alleged that the controversy was being created to benefit land mafia.

“The fact that Sikhs were massacred at Rohira can be verified through any known archaeological or scientific procedure,” said Jagwant Singh Jaggie.

“Bara Ghallughara”, as is known in the local dialect, is situated at Rohira, 3 km from Ahmedgarh, towards the east. The monument stands concealed under a canopy of acacia trees. The successive governments led by the SAD and the Congress have done little towards according it the status of a national monument.

In 1967, Gurmukh Singh, a renowned industrialist of Ludhiana, had taken up the task of renovation and Baba Santa Singh of the Budha Dal took its charge in 1974, which was handed over to a committee formed by the “sangat” of the area.

Though Kirpal Singh Bhawanigarh had once again started “kar sewa” under the guidance of Baba Sant Singh Tarantaran Wale, the “sangat” wanted the state government to take up the matter with the union government.

Former SGPC chiefs Kirpal Singh Badungar and Bibi Jagir Kaur, during their tenures, had declared that a women’s college would be established besides erecting a befitting monument there.

Tikka Raja Shatrujit Singh, the 10 descendant of Nawab Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, who bravely held the forces at bay 244 years ago, had also expressed his desire to visit the battlefield where his ancestor had fought. He met the management committee of Gurdwara Shaheed Ganj in 2004.



VAT Refund
Resentment among traders, industrialists

Ludhiana, February 7
While the trade and industry in Punjab is getting restive on the issue of hike in VAT by one per cent and surcharge of 10 per cent, the Punjab government has allowed the same to file their VAT refund application by giving an affidavit that they will complete the formalities of filling forms “H” and “C” later.

Avtar Singh, general secretary, Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, today said SS Brar, financial commissioner (taxation), Punjab, had agreed that they could get 75 per cent of VAT refund by giving an affidavit.

There was resentment among traders and industrialists that no refund of VAT could be given without the filling out of forms “H” and “C” with the refund application.

Avtar Singh said that the forms were not available and arrears of VAT refund to the tune of Rs 700 crore had accumulated with the Punjab government with the result that the industry was facing financial crisis. Various organisations of the trade and industry have opposed the hike in VAT and surcharge on the same and planned to agitate against the decision of the state government. The hike in VAT by one percent and surcharge of 10 percent had been made by the Sukhbir-Kalia committee on resource mobilisation. — OC



Punjab global folk fest ends
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 7
Punjab International Folk Festival concluded here yesterday. A function to mark the end of the festival was held at the Lodhi Club.

Outstanding performances by folk artistes of Argentina, Poland and Thailand grabbed every ones’ attention.

The multicultural extravaganza, featuring folkloric traditions of four nations, including Poland, Argentina, Thailand and India was worth remembering.

Director of the Punjab Cultural Promotion Council Davinder Singh Chhina said the concluding function was an affair to remember with the folk songs, folk dances and folk rythms.

The costumes, dances and folk instruments of the artist from abroad attracted every one's attention. Polish folk dances by Promyki Folk Group was another highlight. Polska folk costumes and songs were also praised.



Polio campaign by NSS students
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, February 7
As many as100 NSS volunteers of RIMT-Institute of Engineering and Technology, Mandi Gobindgarh, participated in a pulse polio immunisation campaign.

Prof Dalwinder Singh Dhaliwal, faculty member and NSS programme co-ordinator of the institute said students went to different colonies in the town and visited house-to-house to spread awareness and benefits of polio.

The students urged the parents to visit the pulse polio booths to get polio drops to their children.

RIMT Group vice-chairman Vijayant Bansal lauded the efforts of the students. Principal Dr Harsh Sadawarti said the campaign was launched by the NSS unit of the institute, under the initiative drawn by the department of NSS and cultural affairs, Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar.

Meanwhile, the students covered Partap Nagar, Preet Nagar, Adarash Nagar, Subhash Nagar, Shastri Nagar and other adjoining areas and got a good response from the public.



Tips to memorise faster
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 7
Come exam time and students struggle to memorise things on the last moment. In order to help students, world-renowned Biswaroop Roy Chowdhary, who is known for his fast memorisation shared some tips with the students here today.

He was in the city to be a part of special seminar on “Integrated Mind Power and Concentration Techniques (IMPACT)” at the Nehru Sidhant Kendra. The Guinness World Record holder not only presented his ability to use mind power for better memory, but also shared his success mantra.

People from different professions like education and corporation were pat of the programme.

Chowdhary told them how could they improve their ability to recall quickly and avoid mistakes, besides, mind control techniques and improve concentration.

In the two-hour session, he said facts about how a small change in our lifestyle could help us read or write. He said individuals could work and tap their inner potential by spending just 5 minutes a day and gradually they'll experience the change.

Author of more than 25 books on mind and memory, Chowdhary has world-wide patent for his inventions - Memory Lab, Mnemonic Pen, Happiness Machine, and Animated Cosmic Energy Cards (ACEC).



Security tightened at Ravidas Gurdwara
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 7
In the wake of tension in Jalandhar following the announcement of founding of a new religion, tight security arrangements were made outside Ravidas Gurdwara at Jodhewal Basti Chowk here today.

The security was tightened as hundreds of devotees of Ravidas sect converged on the gurdwara for Sunday prayer.

The police had received secret information from insiders that Bir - holy book - would also be replaced today.

There were reports that some Sikh organisations were planning to stage a protest against the move.

Later, the police sources who attended the ceremony in mufti confirmed that no such ceremony took place in the gurdwara today.

SSP SS Gill said preventive measures were in place to avoid any eventuality.

Last year, tension had prevailed in the Jodhewal and surrounding area following the Vienna incident, where sect leader Ramanand was killed by two Punjabi youths in a gurdwara.



BKU hails relief to farmers
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 7
The Bharti Kisan Union, Punjab, has welcomed the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s announcement to compensate farmers from Punjab and Haryana who have been victims of lack of rainfall last year.

In a press release issued here today, union president Ajmer Singh Lakhowal urged the Prime Minister to give at least Rs 5,000 per acre to peasants of Punjab as compensatory fund.

“Due to the absence of power, input cost of farmers for cultivation of rice had gone up considerably last year and the compensation amount would help debt-ridden farmers have a sigh of relief,” stated Lakhowal.

“It is good to see Prime Minister himself realising the problems faced by Punjab farmers during paddy cultivation.”

Similarly, they also urged the central government to fix minimum support price of Rs 250 for sugarcane so that the farmer community got a good dividend and sugar became affordable for the common man.



Education fair draws crowd

Ludhiana, February 7
The Australian Education Fair, organised by Kangaroo Studies (KSPL), here yesterday, drew huge crowd.

A large number of students and their parents from the city as well as from near by areas attended the fair.

Regional director Vishal Pathania said: "The aim was to acquaint the students with opportunities available in Australia."

The fair was a huge success. "The main concern of students and their parents about the students' safety was addressed by representatives from Australian educational institutions who provided information to them on the initiatives taken by the Australian government on safety and security of foreign students, he said. — TNS



230 attend de-addiction camp

Mullanpur Dakha, February 7
A fifteen-day de-addiction camp, a joint effort of the Art of Living and Mata Kaushalaya Devi Pahawa Hospital Humbran concluded here today.

As many as 230 addicts took part in the camp voluntarily and 170 addicts were successfully de-addicted.

Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner Vikas Garg encouraged addicted persons for a drug free future.

MD of Pahawa Hospital Onkar Singh Pahawa was also present.

Manish Chopra, Pardeep Chaudhary, Sunaina, Jyoti and Amardeep, yoga instructors from Bangalore represented the Art of Living group.

Amardeep took care of the meditation and yoga part of the camp, whereas Dr Sandeep Garg looked after the medication. — OC



3 booked for duping man of Rs 7.5 lakh
Our Correspondent

Raikot, February 7
The police has booked three persons, including a woman, for duping a local resident of Rs 7.5 lakh. The accused had allegedly taken the money from the complainant for purportedly bribing a judge to get a judgement in his favour.

In a complaint to SSP, Ludhiana rural, Harinder Singh Chahal, Baldev Singh had stated that his case was pending in a Sirhind court and Gurmeet Kaur, who was known to him, introduced him to Amrinder Singh and Narinder Singh of Sirhind claiming that they had an acquaintance with a judge.

The three took Rs 7.5 lakh from him on February 18 last year to make a payment to the concerned judge.

However, Baldev Singh found no change in the behaviour of the judge, as the case kept moving at the same pace.

He asked the accused to get the judgment from the judge in his favour or return the money.

The accused initially tried to evade him on one pretext or another and then snapped all connections with him, refusing to refund the payment.

The SSP entrusted DSP Raikot with holding an inquiry into the matter. Finding the facts in the complaint to be true, DSP Prithipal Singh handed over his inquiry report to the SSP who ordered the police to book the accused.

The police has registered a case against the three under Sections 420, 406 and 506, IPC. No arrest has been made so far.



428 cases disposed of at lok adalat
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, February 7
A lok adalat was conducted by three benches of Justice Mandeep Kaur Bedi, Justice Ranjeev Kumar Vashist and Justice Ravi Inder Singh at the local courts here yesterday. In all, 700 cases were taken up before the benches, out of which 428 cases were disposed of amicably.

The cases brought before the lok adalat included those pertaining to executions, civil suits, criminal suits, Negotiable Instrument Act cases, matrimony, cancellations of FIRs and recovery suits.

A sum of Rs 86 lakh was awarded in claims to various parties. Teachers and staff of Sidhwan Khurd Law Institute also assisted the judicial officers.

Ludhiana District and Sessions Judge SP Bangar paid a visit to the sub-divisional courts here to monitor the process of the lok adalat.

He was accompanied by SDM Mukand Singh, SP (H) Gurpreet Singh Toor, Jagraon Bar president Jyoti Saroop Sehgal and others.

Justice Bangar appreciated the role played by the Jagraon Bar in assisting lok adalats held by Jagraon judicial officers.

He said the co-ordination between law officers and lawyers was important.

On the benefits of lok adalats, Justice Mandeep Kaur Bedi said since there was no appeal or reconsideration of settlements, the precious time of higher courts was saved besides the costs incurred by the litigation.

Also, the settlements in lok adalats were speedy and less expensive.



All-India Guru Gobind Singh Hockey Meet
Haryana, CR Mumbai eves set up title clash
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, February 7
Haryana XI and Central Railway, Mumbai, came out triumphant in their last league encounters in the women’s section, while Namdhari XI, Bhaini Sahib, along with Punjab Police XI wrapped up semifinal matches to settle for the summit clash in the men’s section on the penultimate day of the sixth edition of the All-India Guru Gobind Singh Hockey Tournament at the Prithipal Singh Memorial AstroTurf Stadium of Punjab Agricultural University here today.

The tournament is being organised by the Ludhiana Sports Welfare Association in association with the Punjab Rural Sports Promotion Council.

In the women’s section, Haryana XI outperformed Chandigarh XI 4-2 to register their third victory in a row, while Central Railway, Mumbai, overpowered Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala, 3-1 to script their second win and advance into the final.

In the first match of the day, played between Haryana XI and Chandigarh XI, the former gained lead in the 20th minute through a field goal by Rani Devi.

Six minutes later, Chandigarh XI neutralised the lead when Neena converted a penalty corner.

After changing ends, Haryana XI again went ahead as Balwinder Kaur scored a field goal in the 41st minute. They further cemented the lead in the 45th minute through Ritu Rani and then in the 66th minute through Balwinder Kaur (4-1). Three minutes later, Jaganti of Chandigarh XI managed to squeeze past Haryana XI’s defenders and found the target to read it 4-2.

In the second match, Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala, eves drew the first blood in the 29th minute through a penalty corner conversion by Amandeep Kaur after wasting a couple of scoring chances earlier.

However, they squandered away the advantage in the 39th minute when Soundarya Yendala of Central Railway, Mumbai, sounded the board to level the score 1-1. CR eves added two more goals through Sangeeta Singh (38th minute) and S Ranjita (53rd minute) which sealed RCF, Kapurthala’s, fate 3-1.

In the first semifinal (men), Namdhari XI, Bhaini Sahib blanked Punjab National Bank, Delhi, 3-0. The winners led 1-0 at half time.

Namdhari XI, with four international stars in its ranks dominated the proceedings, while two players of international fame in the Punjab National Bank team tried to put up resistance.

Harpreet Singh opened the account in the sixth minute through a penalty corner conversion. They increased the lead through Kamaljeet Singh in the 57th minute and pumped in another goal two minutes later when Malaq Singh found the target, thus completing the rout.

Namdhari XI forced two penalty corners and managed to utilise one of them, while Punjab National Bank men secured five penalty corners which went begging.

In the second semifinal, Punjab Police XI pipped Indian Air Force, Delhi 2-0.

Satvinder Singh scored a field goal in the ninth minute to put Punjab Police XI into lead. Former international Jugraj Singh converted a penalty corner successfully in the 66th minute to enhance the lead (2-0).

Tomorrow’s fixtures: Women’s final between Haryana XI and Central Railway, Mumbai, at 12.45 pm and men’s final between Namdhari XI, Bhaini Sahib, and Punjab Police XI at 2.30 pm.



Media prevail over Police
Our Sports Reporter

Dr SS Gill is clean bowled during a match between Media XI and SSP XI in Ludhiana on Sunday. Tribune photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Ludhiana, February 7
A hurricane innings of 55 runs by skipper Mohit Khanna and an equally useful contribution with the ball by Tarsem Deogan, who chipped in with four wickets, helped Media XI beat Ludhiana Police XI by 40 runs in a friendly Twenty20 cricket match played at the Satish Chander Dhawan Government College ground, here today.

Ludhiana Poilce XI captain Dr Sukhchain Singh Gill won the toss and invited Media XI to bat first. However, the decision turned out to be a miscalculated one, as Media XI went on to score 157 runs for the loss of nine wickets in the stipulated 20 overs.

The main architect of their innings was Mohit Khanna who made 55 with the help of one six and five hits to the fence. Other notable contributors were Neeraj Manra and Lehri who scored 20 and 16 runs, respectively.

For Ludhiana Police XI, Varinder Brar was the most successful bowler, who scalped four victims.

In reply, the Ludhiana Police XI’s eassy folded at 117 runs after 14.5 overs. Ravinder top-scored with 24 runs, followed by Dr Sukhcahin Singh Gill (15), Daljit Singh (18), Snehdeep Sharma (17) and Gurwinder (16).

For Media XI, Tarsem Deogan was the pick of the bowlers, grabbing four wickets, while Arshdeep Samar and Neeraj Manra captured two wickets each and Ajit secured one wicket.

Rupinder Singh, SP (traffic), Harish Kumar, SP (headquarters), DSPs Bhupinder Singh, Harmohan Singh, Parampal Singh and Harjinder Singh along with Sunil Dutt, manager, Media XI, inspector Maninder Bedi, sub-inspector Beant Juneja and sub-inspector Jarnail Singh were present during the match.



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