L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Woman bludgeons husband to death
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
A newly married youth was allegedly killed by his wife in Janakpuri here today. The incident came to light this morning when the owner of the house saw the victim, Nishu (26), lying dead on a blood-soaked bed and raised the alarm. Nishu’s wife Shashi (25), alias Renu, reportedly fled the scene.

According to the police, the victim was bludgeoned to death late last evening. Investigating officers said a rod was repeatedly struck on the victim’s head, which resulted in his death.

Gurmail Singh, father of the victim, said Nishu and Shashi met six months ago and fell in love.

Nishu solemnised the wedding against the will of his parents over a month ago and started living separately from his parents in Street No. 6, Janakpuri.

Gurmail, who lives at Ram Nagar in Mundia, alleged that following the marriage the family came to know that Shashi, who hailed from Kangra in Himachal Pradesh and was working in a department store, was already married and had two children.

The revelation of her previous marriage led to tension between the couple and the family decided to separate them.

The neighbours said the couple used to fight frequently since the time they took the portion on rent. Nishu, who was working in a dyeing unit at Phase VIII in Focal Point, arrived home around 8.30 pm, while Shashi returned at 11 last night.

They reportedly fought over some issue. Around 1.30 am a neighbour spotted Shashi moving out of the house with a red handbag.

According to the police, Nishu was apparently planning to leave the home when he was attacked. The police has not ruled out the possibility of the involvement of Shashi’s accomplice in the murder. “The injury on the head indicates that someone might have hit him from behind. The blow might have been sufficient enough to knock him off,” said the investigating officer.

The police said the victim was gagged so that he could not scream for help. Shashi took all her pictures, including the wedding album, along before leaving the house.

The police could not trace the mobile number of Shashi as the latter took the phone diary of Nishu. The police said Nishu did not use mobile phone. In the meantime, Division No. 6 police has registered a murder case against the woman and started the investigation.


Seized sugar auctioned amid cries of foul play
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
About 9,500 quintals of sugar confiscated from hoarders during the Diwali festival were put on the block in Jhabewal village today amidst allegations by several traders the hoarders were bidding high to keep the former away from tomorrow’s auction of 100,000 quintals.

The auction, ordered by the deputy commissioner, so that the stock could make its way into the market, generated keen interest among traders who came from different areas of Punjab to bid for the essential commodity whose prices have spiraled during the last quarter.

As the bids went up to as high as Rs 3,650 per quintal, many traders were left disappointed. They alleged workers employed by hoarders, from whom the sugar was seized, had tried their best to “frustrate” the bidders so that the latter did not come tomorrow.

‘‘It seems to be their only tactic. Otherwise, fresh sugar was available for Rs 36 per kg in the wholesale market. Yesterday we bought fresh and white crystalline sugar from Morinda for Rs 36, and look at the prices today. We aren’t that stupid that we would suffer losses by buying old stocks of sugar”, said Rajinder Singh, a bidder from Amloh.

He added the confiscated sugar was not in a very good condition. ‘‘We could have saved some money had we got it for Rs 25 a kg or even for a few rupees more than that, ’’ he remarked.

There were several other traders who were not in the mood to place bids. ‘‘Though we deposited the security amount in the morning the bids went higher and higher. Even though several traders had offered to form a ‘cartel’ these bidders refused to join in. That means there is something fishy going on - the hoarders can readily suffer losses for 9,500 quintals and want tomorrow's auction cancelled for no takers, ’’ said another bidder.

Vicky Uppal, another participant, asserted there were many irregularities in the auction process. ‘‘It seemed there was something more to this than meets the eye. The bids started and went on going up with the bidders not seeming to care about the money,” he said.

Claiming the auction went well, DFSC (East) KR Singla said 94 parties participated and 19 traders were given a single lot of 500 sacks each. Commenting on the traders’ allegations, he said, “The government has earned sizable revenues. All the parties were given a chance for bidding. Moreover the sugar will now reach the common man and that is what the food & civil supplies department wanted”. He added 100,000 quintals of the confiscated sugar would be auctioned tomorrow in Seera village.

Traders refuse to pay tax

A controversy over nonpayment of tax on the sugar put on auction erupted at the venue when excise & taxation department officials demanded 4% tax and an 8% penalty for evasion of the tax. The traders refused to pay the tax and finally the food & civil supplies department agreed to pay it from the money collected through the auction.

‘Unfit for consumption’

When scores of commoners cannot afford to have many cups of tea due to the high prices of sugar, the commodity was seen rotting in godowns at Jhabewal village today. A number of bags had turned black and the crystals had liquefied into a form of a tar like liquid. Almost all the bags lying on the ground had turned moist and their colour had changed. While several traders were heard saying the sugar was not fit for human consumption, others said they would “pass it on” to sweetmeat sellers. ‘‘It wouldn’t take them long to get rid of it, ’’ a trader was heard muttering.



Indian scribe’s body found in Italy
Ashok Kaura

Phillaur, February 26
The decomposed body of Gurmukh Singh Sarkaria, 37, a Punjabi media journalist living in Italy, was found floating in a river near the Italian town of Karema on February 24. Sarkaria, who was born in Dhunde village near Goraya, had been reported missing under mysterious circumstances since January 19 after he had returned from India and was on his way back in a car to his home in Fabrike village.

A pall of gloom was descended in Dhunde with most of the villagers seen gathering at Sarkaria’s ancestral home to condole his family members.

Speaking to The Tribune at his home in Dhunde on Friday, Lakhwinder Singh, 66, the deceased’s father who has also been residing in Italy since 2004, said his son came to the village on January 2 for eye and dental treatment in Phagwara. He said Gurmukh stayed in the village till January 17 and left for Italy on January 18 night and later informed him he had arrived in Italy on January 19.

A number of Lakhwinder’s relatives as well as Bahujan Samaj Party state general secretary MP Singh Goraya were also present at the former’s home.

Lakhwinder said, “I was shocked to hear the news of my son’s mysterious disappearance day and began making enquiries with the Italian embassy in New Delhi as well as in Italy for information about him.”

“According to preliminary information received in my village, Gurmukh was received in Italy by a friend, Vishal Arora from Beas, and both went to the house of another friend, Sukhwinder Singh from Khamano, where all three had drinks and food. Later my son and Vishal left for Fabrike. According to the latter, when both saw a police checkpoint on the road near Karema, Gurmukh left the car quietly and was reported missing since then”, said Lakhwinder.

According to him, it is feared Gurmukh’s body was thrown into a nearby river after he was murdered. “A fisherman found the decomposed corpse of a young man floating in the river and immediately informed the police. The deceased’s wife, Rajwinder Kaur, and Shamsher Singh, his brother, identified the body from a tattoo on one of the hands, clothes and a gold chain”, he added.

Lakhwinder said his three sons were living in Italy since 1997. He said they came to India to see his 93-year-old mother and spent six months in Dhunde.

Lakhwinder expressed his apprehension that his son was brutally murdered by his own friends, saying, “The truth would soon come to light”. He said he and his wife would fly back to Italy tomorrow.

He added Gurmukh is survived by his widow, an 8-year-old daughter and a three-year-old son.



Thieves decamp with 110 cylinders
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
Thieves broke into the godown of Amrit Gas Company at Kali Sarak and decamped with 110 LPG cylinders here today. The incident came to light at 5 am, when an employee of a gas godown, Rama Kant, informed the owner Sunil Chadha about the theft.

According to the watchman, thieves broke the main gate and parked their vehicle in a vacant plot. Sunil Chadha, said as soon as he was informed about the theft he immediately intimated the police and narrated the incident.

However, the police was not terming the incident a theft, owing to the varied versions of the eyewitness. The cops were suspecting the involvement of an insider behind the incident.

Sources said the involvement of couple of employees had also come under scanner as they were spotted at the scene soon after the incident.

Interestingly, even the watchman could not give precise detail to the police. Neither he could tell the police which vehicle was used for theft nor did he know how many thieves struck the godown.

In the meantime, SHO Daljit Singh had called all employees of the gas agency at the police station for questioning. The fingerprint expert and dog squad visited the spot but could not lift any clue.

Sunil Chadha allegedly complained against the police for inaction. He said at least the police should register an FIR and start the investigation. “The cops have refused to admit that it is a case of theft. Rather they are telling me there must have been a mistake in counting. We have counted the cylinders twice and we are 110 cylinders short,” said Sunil and further added that he and his employees were sitting in the police station since 11 am but the SHO did not come till 3 pm.



‘Budget will hit the poor hardest’
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
The 2010-11 budget has left the poor, who form over 65 per cent of the city's population, fearing it would further push them into poverty. They feel the budget, which they have termed ‘anti-poor’, is for the well to do and has failed miserably to address their problems.

"My biggest problem is to arrange two square meals a day for my children. With this kind of budget and economic policies, the government has completely dashed our hopes for a change in our fortunes”, rued Shankar Bahadur, who works as a domestic help.

Radha Rani, another domestic help, remarked, "Essential commodities like pulses and sugar are already out of the reach of the poor. Edible oils, fuel, flour - everything that a poor man uses in his daily life have become so much expensive that he thinks twice before buying them. What will we eat now?"

She added though she did not understand the intricacies of government policies, she had expected this year’s budget would give some relief from the skyrocketing prices of essential items. "However, contrary to our expectations, the government is out to kill the poor by compounding the inflation that has gone through the roof."

The poor have nothing to look up to in the budget and are worried about their kids. "I don’t know how would we sustain ourselves in such conditions. In a scenario when feeding the family has become a burden, education will be a luxury for the rich. I’ll soon be forced to withdraw my kids from the school," said an angry Padam, a rickshaw puller.

His wife Lakshmi added children of the poor are going to be more malnourished and parents will be forced to send them to work at an early age to supplement the meager family income.

"The price of everything has multiplied five times in the past couple of years. Salt and ‘roti’ is the only thing a poor man can afford to have these days. Instead of easing the situation the government seems to be hell-bent on depriving the poor of even this humble meal," said Hansraj, a motor mechanic.



Sarinh farmer killed by brother
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 26
Simrat Jit Kaur, now widow of Darshan Singh, a marginal farmer of Sarinh village in Ludhiana district, is cursing the moment when she allowed and accompanied her husband to his brother’s house to lodge protest against removing an iron gate of their house yesterday.

Instead of apologising for his conduct, the elder brother of her husband attacked him with an axe and Darshan succumbed to his injuries after a few hours.

The accused had been identified as Talwinder Singh, alias Billu. Though the Ludhiana Sadar police had registered an FIR under Section 302 of the IPC against the accused, no arrest had been made yet.

Darshan Singh and Billu, sons of a marginal farmer Mall Singh of Sarinh, were in dispute over transfer of a small piece of agricultural land. The old parents, who were living with their younger son, were against transferring Billu’s share in his name as they were apprehensive of it being disposed of by him.

Suspecting that Darshan Singh and his wife had been instigating Mall Singh against him, Billu used to quarrel with them frequently and ultimately families of both the brothers had started living separately.

Last evening, when Darshan Singh had gone to his workshop in the city, Billu allegedly dismantled the gate fixed at the main entrance of his house.

Unable to bear the insult and agony, Darshan Singh decided to lodge protest against his brother’s action. He, along with his wife Simrat Jit Kaur, went to Billu’s house late in the evening. Billu, instead of realising his fault, attacked his brother with an axe. Besides hitting him on his head, he inflicted about one dozen injuries on other parts of the body.

As the suspect allegedly had an old criminal record, none of the villagers came to the victim’s help who fell unconscious on the ground in front of his brother’s house.

He was later shifted to a multi-specialty hospital at Ludhiana where he succumbed to his injuries around 2.30 am today.

The police is investigating the case. The deceased is survived by two minor children besides his parents.



No clue of abducted sisters
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
Three days after two sisters and students of a local college were allegedly abducted by a baba, the police has failed to trace the girls.

In the meantime, the parents of the girls are shuttling from the city to Gurgaon in the hope of finding their daughters.

Rupinder Singh, father of the girls, cursed the moment when he allowed his daughters to attend the baba’s discourses.

“Had I known the evil designs of the baba who committed such an act, I would never have allowed my daughters to attend his congregations. The police has neither nabbed him nor could it recover my daughters,” he lamented.

Jaspreet (13), the victims’ brother, said all hell broke lose when the college authorities told his parents that his sisters did not come to the hostel.

“I am alone at home since yesterday. My mother is camping in the police station while my father, who returned home today from Gurgaon, is also running from pillar to post to get some clue about them,” he said.

The baba reportedly has a large following in Ludhiana. Manpreet Kaur (21) and Kiranpreet Kaur (19) were allegedly abducted by him on Wednesday.



Mixed reaction to Budget
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
The market showed big thumbs up for the Union Budget presented today in Parliament, but it had dashed the hopes of the poor who form the major portion of India’s population.

The Sensex went up by 1.8 per cent. The rollback of stimulus was softer than expected even as the fiscal deficit was expanded in a controlled manner and personal income taxes saw some relief.

The Federation of Associations of Small Industries of India said the Budget was seemingly undirected for the industry. “The textile industry of Ludhiana is facing the worst situation on pollution control and around 80 per cent of dying units are forced to shift the cluster. But the government offered Rs 200 crore to for zero liquid discharge facility,” rued Jindal, chairman of the Punjab chapter.

Adding further he said the coal regulatory authority was announced, but under the pressure of the steel cartel the long standing demand of engineering industry to form a steel regulatory authority was ignored.

“The only positive aspect in the Budget was the enhancement of direct tax limit and deposit of the Central excise duty on quarterly basis,” he said.

Jatinder Khurana, a lawyer, commenting upon the Budget, said the tax limit had remained the same. Tax rates had been changed but there had been no relief for the small tax payers. The audit limit had been now made mandatory to Rs 60 lakh from Rs 40 lakh.

While the professionals got some relief as the audit limit had been increased to Rs 15 lakh from Rs 10 lakh initially.

Commenting upon the Budget, the Communist Party of India, Ludhiana, termed the Budget as highly inflatory. Kartar Singh, secretary, and Dr Arun Mitra, assistant secretary, said increase in excise duty would increase the prices of essential commodities thus adversely affecting the common man who was already being crushed under the burden of soaring prices.

“The so-called tax benefit to the middle class is just a mirage as all the saving will go down the drain because of increase in prices of consumable items,” they said.

Sakshi Aggarwal, a house maker, said further increase in the prices of petrol and diesel would disrupt her home budget. “In addition to this the prices of big cars, cement and jewellery has also been increased. I am sure inflation will rise further in this financial year,” she added.

The measured approach to reducing the fiscal deficit over the next couple of years to about 4.1 per cent of GDP from 5.5 per cent currently was a key positive on the macro-economic front.



Rahul Tiwari new DC
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
Rahul Tiwari was today posted as the Deputy Commissioner of Ludhiana and Vikas Garg has been transferred out of here.

Tiwari was the Deputy Commissioner of Bathinda and would take charge from Tuesday. He said redress of public grievances would be his top priority. He would try to deliver good governance.

“I will try to bring about a change for the better wherever possible. My performance would be there for everyone to see,” he said.

A 2000 batch officer, Tiwari belongs to Lucknow and has worked as the SDM at Gidderbaha, Moonak, Sangrur and Amritsar.



Health workers stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
Members of the Paramedical and Health Workers’ Sangharsh Committee, Punjab, staged a dharna in front of the DC office against the non-implementation of their demands here today.

Committee convener Balbir Singh said the state government had failed to look into demands concerning allowances, pay hike as per pay commission recommendations, regularisation of contractual workers and timely dispensation of the salaries.

The committee members also stated that the state government should hand over the 1,193 village dispensaries to the department of health and family welfare, Punjab, which were handed over to the department of rural development and panchayats.

Pointing towards the “overdue promotions” of mass media officers, pharmacists and lady health visitors, the committee members stated that timely promotions were necessary for motivating department employees.



Cheque Bounce
Accused blames it on recession
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
Three days after his arrest by the Gurgaon police in an alleged cheque bounce case, Rajesh Gupta, owner of the Elite Arcade, said he could not pay regular instalments due to recession in the real estate market.

Gupta was arrested following the directions of the Gurgaon court after he failed to pay the loan instalment. He said he had not committed any fraud with any financial institution.

Gupta, who is a well-known yarn trader of the city, claimed that he had effected a compromise with India Bulls Housing Finance Limited and the case had been withdrawn from the court.

He said Garg International Private Limited belonged to a reputed business group and he had not committed any fraud as the loan was taken after giving adequate security of assets against the amount.

He said Garg International Private Limited had borrowed Rs 12.12 crore from India Bulls against the lower ground floor at Elite’s Arcade at Mall Road.

The loan was secured as the market value of the land measuring 15,000 sq ft was around Rs 25 crore, he claimed, clarifying that he had already paid Rs 1.34 crore.

However, no official of India Bulls Housing Finance Limited was present for comments.

The sources at Garg international said both groups had effected a compromise and the dispute had been settled.



Fancy numbers go for Rs 38 lakh
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 26
The transport department here became richer by some Rs 38 lakh by selling fancy vehicle numbers at an auction at Circuit House here today.

More than 750 applicants were received. More than 300 fancy numbers, mostly PB-10CS series, were taken by interested bidders, who at times, were seen trying to outbid others in an attempt to get the number of their choice at any cost.

The highest bid was offered by a resident, Vijay Kumar, for the number 0009 of CS series which was sold for Rs 2 lakh. Number 0007 in the same series went for Rs 1.85 lakh to Param Steels while to the surprise of officials conducting the auction, the registration number 0001 in CS series commanded just Rs 1.60 lakh and the bidder was Pardeep Singh.

The DTO said a few unimportant numbers in the fancy numbers category remained unsold and these would be put under the hammer next time.

There were few takers for the 0001 number, which used to be the hot favourite of vehicle owners till last time, and came as a surprise to the officials as they were expecting it to generate the maximum money. The reason was summed up by a participant who, requesting not to be identified, remarked that the number (0001) seemed to be jinxed. “There have been at least two instances when those paying hefty sums for this VIP number had to face investigations by the income tax department,” he said.



Price Rise
Safai workers hold protest
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 26
The Safai Labour Union along with the Dr BR Ambedkar Welfare Mission held a rally against skyrocketing prices, holding both the centre and the state governments responsible, at Clock Tower Chowk here today.

The protesters marched in procession from the zonal office of the municipal corporation at Mata Rani Chowk to Clock Tower Chowk where a rally was held.

Vijay Kumar, president of the mission, who led the protest said the poor were not able to manage two square meals a day as prices of all essential food items had gone over the roof whereas the government remained clueless to tackling the situation.

Targeting union food minister Sharad Pawar, he said the minister appeared to be hand in glove with lobby of sugar mills and other big traders, which was the reason why he had taken no action against hoarders.

Both the centre and state governments had closed their eyes to the plight of the working class who were finding it hard to survive in the wake of unprecedented rise in prices of sugar, pulses, edible oils and vegetables. Ashok Kumar, Sham Lal, Raj Kumar Happy, Chaman Lal, DP Maur, OP Mehta, Amar Nath, Mangat Lal, Surinder Chanaliya, Ravi Kumar, Mani Gill, Jaswinder Kumar, Jagdish, Harwinder Nahar, Rahul Bhatti, Rakesh Bhatt, Kashmir Singh, Karnail Singh and Jiwan Lal were also present.



PSEB chairman vindictive: Engineers
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 26
Reacting over suspension of a few engineers for alleged complicity in power theft, the PSEB Engineers Association (PSEBEA) has charged board chairman HS Brar with adopting a vindictive and biased attitude.

A meeting of the Ludhiana region of the association, held here last evening and attended by engineers from operation, grid construction, protection and other wings, maintained that several decisions taken under the tenure of Brar smacked of prejudice and whimsical behaviour.

“We demand action against the real culprits involved in power theft but at the same time the house is of unanimous view that action taken against a particular officer at Rajpura is unjustified and vindictive,” the engineers observed.

According to Jaswant Singh Zafar, secretary publication of the PSEBEA, those present at the meeting felt that most officers were being penalised not on the basis of any direct involvement or connivance in power theft but in their supervisory capacity as per old norms without taking into account manifold increase in workload and lack of infrastructure support.

“The cash counters of the PSEB are without cashiers, most of the offices are without peons and security staff, divisional officers are clearing the bills without divisional accountants and other trained staff just to keep the department functional. However, when something goes wrong, supervisory officers are placed under suspension or issued charge-sheets by the management to cover up their own shortcomings,” they alleged.

The engineers felt the need for strengthening the association so as to effectively face the challenges ahead.

The meeting urged the central body to take up earnestly the core issues affecting the working and service conditions of engineers with the board management while resolving to follow the decisions taken by the central executive in this regard.



Pay Scales
Teachers protest non-implementation
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, February 26
On the call given by the Joint Action Committee, private colleges of Punjab observed complete education bandh and participated in a rally in Chandigarh today while the Punjab Federation of University and College Teachers’ Organisation (PFUCTO), which had planned a synchronised action plan for the day, observed a total stay-in-strike.

“The Joint Action Committee, which constituted the private colleges management federation of Punjab and Chandigarh, federation of associations of college principals and Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers’ Union, drew the attention of the Punjab government towards education and the present state of educational institutes especially the private ones, which due to the non-release of grants by the government are facing financial crunch,” said SC Sanwalka, president, Joint Action Committee and president of Management Federation.

Jagwant Singh, general secretary of the JAC, said the private colleges were not in a position to pay the revised salaries. He further added that non-government colleges had to depend either on the government grants or tuition fee from the students.

Jaswant Singh Gill, retired principal and secretary, Management Federation, said: “Various memorandums, highlighting our demands, submitted to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal have failed to bear fruit. On the contrary, the Panjab government has betrayed the cause of teachers by not releasing enhanced grants and by depriving the unaided teachers of the colleges from Central assistance. It is surprising that the Punjab government is refusing 80 per cent of the Central grants because the Punjab government has to bear its 20 per cent share of the enhanced salaries of unaided staff. Many neighbouring states have notified revised pay scales, but it’s shameful that Punjab is lagging behind.”

“Today’s action was especially planned to draw the attention of the Punjab government regarding the state of higher education in Punjab which is neglected by the existing government,” said Prof Jaipal Singh, president of the Government College Teachers’ Union.

Dr Manjit Singh, president of the Punjab University Teachers’ Association and Punjab Federation of University and College Teachers’ Organisation, along with Dr Harmit Singh Kingra, president, Punjab Agricultural University, lambasted the bureaucrats of the state, who they blamed were responsible for delaying the implementation of revised pay scales.

“Other demands include non-implementation of other clauses of MHRD notification especially the issue of retirement age. Further, the relaxation in refresher courses and recruiting teachers on regular basis is still another important issue which needs to be resolved soon,” they added.

“The new scales have not been given to the teachers of PAU and GADVASU and the government teachers too have been delayed the new scales due to the delay in the budget allocation.”



Exam Wishes
Teachers doing their last bit
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
Keeping alive the tradition of greeting a dear one with cards and flowers prior to an important event, city's school teachers are busy sending their good wishes to their students ahead of their board examination.

Going a step further in living up to the image of friend, philosopher and guide, school teachers are taking pains to make sure their greetings reach the students in time.

Paramjit Kaur, principal, BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School, said: "Flowers say a lot. They say even more than words. The best part about giving flowers to dear ones is that they bring pleasure to both, the giver as well as the recipient."

She added that exam time was the most difficult time in a student's life. When stress levels are soaring and clock seems to be running faster than ever, the only thing students need is reassurance.

"Teachers have given the best of academic guidance to our students and also organised workshops, seminars and prayer meetings for our students prior to their exams. But such gestures make the students feel special and also gives them the much-needed confidence," said Paramjit.

Mini Aggarwal, another educationist, adds, "Flowers speak the language of love. They help convey what we are not able to say to our students in class due to the reverential nature of the teacher-pupil relationship."

This small, but loving gesture of teachers has the students smiling, says Ekta, a Class XII student of Sacred Heart Convent, Sarabha Nagar.

"Getting a greeting card from my teacher is the best thing in the tension-filled exam days. The card is special to me and I will cherish it always," she added.

Another student Priyanka Sehajpal added, "The lovely wishes from my class teacher in the form of a rose bud and a hand-made greeting reminds me of her blessing every minute."



Parking Norms
MC officials visit malls
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
To check if owners of malls at Mall Road were obeying parking rules, a team of MC officials yesterday surveyed the area. The officials visited the sites and took measurements of the parking areas. They also checked whether the space meant for parking was being properly utilised.

Hemant Batra, MTP, said officials were getting the details and the measurements were being taken. The report was expected to be submitted by next week, he said.

The MC authorities had asked mall owners to use the parking space for parking purposes only and not for any other commercial activity.



Students apprised of classical history
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
Clad in a cream and bottle green lehenga, the versatile Kathak dancer, Mahua Shankar, introduced students of Shifaly International Public School to “mudra” and “bhav”, terming them as the body and soul of Indian classical dance forms.

The dancer visited the school under the aegis of Society for the Promotion of Indian Classical Art and Music Amongst Youth.

Tabla maestro Vijay Mishra, harmonium expert Ghulam Waris and vocalist Nupur Shakar accompanied Mahua Shankar on the stage.

Mahua Shankar took pride in being a leading exponent of the oldest forms of Indian classical dance as she added, “As a true artist I can brag to draw Rakhi Sawant’s audience, but it is impossible for her to lure the lovers of classical dance, as they are intelligent enough to differentiate between true talent and crafted movements.”

Disciple of the legendary Kathak dancer, Pt Birju Maharaj, for the past 15 years, Mahua Shankar is also teaching young students at Kala Ashram in New Delhi. Daughter of late Kathak dancer Pradeep Shankar, Mahua started learning Kathak at the age of five from her mother Rekha Shankar, who is also a noted Kathak dancer. Candidly admitting to her status of a single woman, Mahua said, “I worship my dance and I can only commit myself to a person who will honour my commitment to Kathak.”

Bowled over by the enthusiasm of school students who referred to her as the “Nrityangna”, the Kathak exponent reciprocated with humility as she narrated the history of the dance to students. “Kathak was initially performed by men in the courtyards of temples, thereafter, came to households of zamindars but women artists were introduced only after its advent in the court of Nawab Wazid Ali Shah of Awadh,” said Mahua in her address to students.



Workshop for IMA doctors
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
Indian Medical Association (IMA) will organise a two-day state review workshop (Punjab and Chandigarh) to review the participation of IMA doctors in the on going Revised National Tuberculosis programme (RNTCP).

The workshop will be held from February 27. Dr RS Parmar, president of state IMA, will chair the workshop, which will be attended by Dr Dahram Parkash, secretary, IMA Head Quarter, New Delhi.

Dr Narotam Dewan and Dr Hardeep Singh said all RNTCP district co-ordinators from all over Punjab and Chandigrah would deliberate on the problems being faced by the doctors.

The district TB officers of the health departments of all districts would also participate. State RNTCP consultant of IMA Dr KK Bansal will discuss the role of IMA in the project/ expectations of IMA from public sector, lessons learnt, constraints and suggestions.



PAU Notes
Heritage of Punjab on display
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
Exhibition of photographs on “Cultural heritage of Punjab” by Major Amarjit Singh Bath concluded at the MS Randhawa Art Gallery of Punjab Agricultural University yesterday. PAU Vice-Chancellor Dr Manjit Singh Kang who came to see the exhibition congratulated the artist for capturing the cultural heritage of the past for posterity. The Vice-Chancellor desired that more such exhibitions should be arranged for the benefit of students.

Home scientists of Punjab Agricultural University advised students against the use of toxic chemical colours during Holi. According to Dr Neelam Grewal, dean, College of Home Science, chemical colours can cause severe skin problems, whereas colours derived from natural sources are safe for the skin. Dr Grewal said during ancient times, the colours used to celebrate Holi came from natural sources- flowers and leaves. At present, these have been replaced by toxic chemical dyes that are harmful for human health and environment.

Use natural colours

Dr Grewal advised on the use of colours derived from natural sources like mangold, amaltas rind of pomegranate, turmeric, beetsool henna, annatto seeds. To make dry colour Dr Grewal suggested the use of starch (arrowroot) powder as the base material to which turmeric power could be added for yellow colour. Similarly, indigo could be added for blue colour.

Flower show

The stalls of floral studios added glamour to the two-day flower show, which concluded today at PAU. A large number of flower lovers bought potted flowers and ornamental plants from the exhibition-cum-sale after the show. It was a golden opportunity for the amateur flower growers to get instant tips from the experts from the department of floriculture and landscaping, PAU.

The winner teams, including school/college students, gardeners, amateurs and professional growers of various competitions were also honoured.



Consumer Courts
Travel agency ordered to refund Rs 12,000
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 26
Terming the charging of excessive amount from a customer an “unfair trade practice”, the district consumer forum has ordered a travel agency to refund an amount of Rs 12,000.

Pronouncing the orders, PD Goyal, president of the forum’s additional bench, and Rajesh Kumar, member, directed Janta Travels Pvt. Ltd. to refund the amount along with interest 9 per cent per annum from the day of filing of case besides litigation expenses of Rs 1,000.

The forum held that the travel agency had charged Rs 12,000 when the consumer had requested for change of day of air journey, as his wife was sick.

It was claimed that the amount was charged following increase in fare by KLM Airline. But the travel agency failed to prove it.

The orders came on a complaint moved by Manmohan Singh Jauhar of Sarabha Nagar. The complainant had stated that he had purchased a return air ticket for Rs 50,500 in July, 2008.

Two days prior to journey, his wife fell sick. He requested the travel agency to change the departure for 10 days. It was alleged that an amount of Rs 12,000 was charged illegally for changing the date. The complainant had sought a refund of the amount.

On the other hand, Janta Travels refuted the allegations stating that the amount was charged legally as there was an increase in the air fare.

It was further pleaded that the charged amount was paid to the airlines and the receipt was issued to the customer. They only acted as an agent of airlines. So, there was no fault of theirs.

However, after appreciating the evidence on record, the forum observed that the travel agency failed to substantiate its version with any documentary evidence. It ordered the agency to return the amount along with interest and litigation expenses.



Opium seized, 1 arrested
Tribune Reporters

Samrala, February 26
A man was stopped near a barricade put up by the police on the Machhiwara road and about 280 grams of opium was seized from his possession. Cops signaled a person coming from the Bharthla side to stop. On seeing the cops, the man identified as Omkar Singh, a resident of Jhande Khurd near Sardulgarh, tried to run away but was overpowered. A case was registered against him under the NDPC act.

Jail guard held

Narinderpal, a jail guard, has been arrested on the charges of attacking NK Sharma, an advocate, on the court premises. Jail guard, who was posted at Ludhiana Jail, had a come to attend the hearing of a civil suit filed by his wife at the local court. He entered into an argument with Sharma, who his wife’s advocate, and even attacked him. He has been arrested after a case was registered against him.

2 held with smack

Khanna: The local police has arrested two persons with smack. They have been identified as Onkar Singh, a resident of Jhanda Khurd, and Surmukh Singh, a resident of Harbanspura. A case has been registered against them.


Thieves broke open the three shops and took away mobile phones, gas cylinders and electronic items from here on Tuesday. These shops are located on the Rattanheri Road and GTB Nagar. Owner of the watch shop in his complaint lodged with the police alleged that the thieves took away Rs 2,200 cash and nine mobile phones. They, however, did not touch the watches lying in the shop. A case has been registered.

Two booked

Two persons have been booked for beating up a resident of Jandali village. In his complaint lodged with the police, Ginder Singh alleged that Amandeep Singh and Kamaljit Singh, both residents of Jandali, had beaten him up after forcibly entering into his house. The complainant alleged that the accused even beaten up his son. He fled away after large number of villagers gathered around their house.


Two local residents have been booked for threatening and demanding money from Amrish Kumar, a resident of Jassran village. The accused have been identified as Lalit Kumar, alias Lucky, a resident of Sarafa market, and Anil Kumar, a resident of old market. The complainant alleged that the accused had demanded Rs 30,000 from him while he was purchasing construction material from a shop.


Phillaur: A married woman identified as Umraj reportedly committed suicide by hanging herself from a ceiling fan in her in-laws house at Babe-daa-Boharr here on Tuesday. She took this extreme step, as she was mentally upset due to the domestic dispute, the cops added.

The woman was rushed to the local civil hospital where doctors declared her brought dead. Naresh, the cousin of the deceased, alleged that her in-laws were not happy, as Lakhwinder had got married to her against their wishes in a court. He alleged that she was tortured mentally and physically from the first day of her marriage. A case has been registered and husband taken into custody for questioning. The body has been handed over to her family after a post-mortem examination.



City Centre Case
Captain, son seek exemption
Our Legal Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 26
Former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, one of the accused in the alleged multi-crore city centre scam, today moved an application seeking exemption from personal appearance in the court on February 26, the date of hearing of case.

In his application, Capt Amarinder Singh asserted that he was unable to attend the court as he was also to appear before a court at Mohali in connection with a criminal case.

The application was filed by his lawyer.

Meanwhile, his son Raninder Singh also moved an exemption application before the same court.

Taking cognizance of these applications, Sessions Judge SP Bangarh directed the vigilance bureau to file its reply tomorrow.

The public prosecutor was likely to advance his arguments for framing charges against the remaining accused tomorrow.



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