L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


No escape for traffic violators
Cops challan over 50 vehicles
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
Tightening the noose around underage drivers, the traffic police launched a massive challan drive outside BCM Arya Model School at Shastri Nagar in Model Town here this morning.

Cops remove black film from a student leader’s car. 
A traffic violator seeks apology from SHO (traffic) Gurpreet Kaur in Ludhiana on Friday
A traffic violator seeks apology from SHO (traffic) Gurpreet Kaur in Ludhiana on Friday.

Over 50 vehicles were challaned and several were impounded as students failed to produce documents and driving licence. Black films were also removed from the windscreens of cars.

Even the vehicles of those in close circles with the Shiromani Akali Dal leaders were not spared. The vehicle of a college union leader was also challaned for traffic violation and black film was also removed from the white SUV of a SOI leader.

However, a few managed to dodge the police check post as the potbelly cops fail to nab them. Interesting scenes were witnessed as students were seen requesting the cops to spare them.
Youths flee after seeing cops.
Youths flee after seeing cops.

In order to evade challan, some students took out their mobile phones from their schoolbags and asked cops to talk to senior police officials and politicians. However, nothing worked for the traffic violators as SHO (traffic) Gurpreet Kaur was equal to the task.

Some commuters also argued with traffic cops. A woman, who came to the school to drop her children, refused to show documents of the vehicle to cops and asked them to challan the vehicle.

However, a few minutes later, she started dropping names and made cops talk to a senior politician.

 However, this proved futile and she was fined heavily. 


3 engineering students meet death on exam day 
Tribune News Service

Mandi Gobindgarh, April 2
Three college students, who went to take exams in Desh Bhagat Engineering College, were killed in a road accident on Amloh road in Mandi Gobindgarh.

Left Mohit Malla,MiddleWakar Ali, RightZohaib Ashraf

The deceased have been identified as Zohaib, a resident of Magar Mal Bagh, Srinagar, and student of second year computer science, Wakar Ali, a resident of Nawab Bagh, Srinagar, and a student of BTech fourth year and Mohit Malla of same class from Dhar Road in Udham Singh Nagar.

The students, between the age group of 19 and 20 years, were riding a motorcycle and were crushed under a truck in a pursuit to overtake it.

While two of them died on the spot, the third one succumbed to his injuries on way to a hospital.

The police said the bodies have been kept in the civil hospital and post mortem would be conducted after the arrival of family members of the deceased. The truck has been impounded. However, the driver managed to flee, the police added. 



Irregularities in Doraha MC
Erring officials yet to be nailed
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
The Doraha Municipal Council is yet to take action against officials involved in financial irregularities of over Rs 7.14 crore between August 31, 2004, and June 30, 2009.

Even as the information provided under the RTI Act points towards the irregularities, no action has been taken against the erring officials till date. As per the information procured under the RTI Act by Tarlochan Singh Sethi, an advocate from Doraha, the development fee charged by the Doraha MC for a period of six years for sanctioning maps in unauthorised colonies was just peanuts in comparison to the actual fee. The records state that 612 maps were cleared in six years (2004 to 2009), but only 32 out of the total were charged the actual development fee, whereas 580 were charged a meagre amount between Rs 5 and Rs 50 per square yard.

The records show several irregularities while charging the particular fee by the Doraha MC. For example, on August 11, 2006, the Doraha MC charged different development fee on two plots of 250-square yard each. Since both the plots were in unauthorised colonies and the area was similar, the fee had to be the same. But one resident was charged Rs 27,500 (Rs 110 per square yard) while another was charged just Rs 750 (Rs 3 per square yard). These plots belong to Gurmel Chand (ward number 2) and Mohan Singh (ward number 6) of Doraha, respectively.

As per information provided by the public information officer, MC, Doraha, on August 7, 2009, the development charges had been fixed by the government. As per the rules, for above 250 square yard plot, development fee had to be Rs 175. Between 125 sq yards and 250 sq yards Rs 110 per square yard, between 50 and 125 sq yards Rs 65 while up to 50 sq yards no development fee would be charged. Besides, there would be 10 per cent increase in the development fee annually.

The RTI information reveals that except for 32, all plot owners paid very little amount as the development fee. “It has been a revenue loss of Rs 7.14 crore, but the authorities are not interested in questioning the erring officials,” said Sethi.



New Housing Colonies
LIT seeks public participation
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, April 2
Following acute shortage of affordable housing and land acquisition being a cumbersome procedure, the Ludhiana Improvement Trust (LIT) has proposed to develop new housing schemes with private participation.

Under the proposed plan, pieces of land measuring more than 10 acres within the city limits owned by private individuals will be taken over for construction of affordable houses of different categories as per the provisions of the land pooling policy of the Punjab government.

Talking to The Tribune here today, LIT chairman Ashok Juneja said the trust has not carved out any new housing scheme for quite some time now as the land was not available for acquisition and the process of acquisition had run into trouble for various reasons. “The land pooling policy has come as a great relief and the LIT will make the full use of this easier way of obtaining land for housing purposes,” he said.

Juneja said: “After the land owners come with their offers, the LIT will initiate necessary action to seek mandatory government approval, prepare detailed project reports and take work in hand for development of residential schemes as per assessed demand.”

“The entire internal development, infrastructure and basic amenities will be provided in such schemes by the LIT and the land owners will be offered a share in the built up properties in the ratio agreed upon at the time of commencement of work in the proposed schemes,” Juneja stated.

Giving details of other projects to be taken in hand in the near future, the LIT chairman said work was about to commence for the construction of around 1,100 flats for the weaker sections and the middle income groups on 8.8 acres in Shaheed Karnail Singh Nagar. “The LIT has adopted a resolution, possession of the land has been secured and a nod from the state government is awaited for this ambitious housing project - Atal Apartments - to be named after former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee,” he said.

Juneja claimed that work was in full swing on at least three other housing schemes in Model Town extension, Sukhdev Enclave and Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar where possession of some 1,000 HIG and MIG flats would be handed over to the allottees within a month.



Khayali eyes chaise lounge in Bollywood
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
Having been nominated for the Guinness Book of World Records for doing 16 reality shows in three years, comedian Khayali Saharan is now eyeing a chaise lounge in Bollywood.

“My dialect with a tinge of Punjabi, Haryanavi and Rajasthani was an instant hit with the audience in North India, as they could easily relate to my on screen appearance. Movies, including Bombay to Goa, Meri Padosan, Singh is Kinng and Lar Gaya Pecha, were liked by audience and now I am waiting for the release of Muskara Ke Dekh Zara and The Party,” Khayali said.

Khayali is in the city to perform at the grand finale of “Mega Dance Star Show” at Guru Nanak Dev Bhawan tomorrow.

Unpretentious manner combined with frankness is what makes Khayali an artiste of the masses, as he candidly referred to his “unconventional looks” as the strength behind his dominant act.

“I am an artiste with a rustic background, who grew up believing in the right conduct, which can be achieved with hard work, commitment and honesty. People in my village near Sri Ganganagar don’t know me as an actor, as they themselves are still struggling for the basic needs like food, water and electricity,” voiced Khayali.

When asked about the “vulgarity” that has sneaked into the comic acts right from dialogues to gestures, Khayali said,

“It depends upon one’s perception. There are no parameters to define crudity in dialogues and nudity in pictures as far as contemporary world of showbiz is concerned, but it is the duty of every artiste to refrain from going overboard,” the artiste said. Speaking on the commercial angle involved in reality shows, Khayali believes that there is nothing wrong with the “monetary aspect” with which these shows are produced, he added that, “Reality shows have given employment to thousands of people. These shows have provided a platform to those who belong to remote villages in India.”



Wheat procurement begins today
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Khanna, April 2
Government agencies will start procuring wheat from tomorrow. Secretary of the Market Committee Kuldip Singh said till yesterday there was no wheat in the market, it was only today that around 50 to 70 quintals of wheat was unloaded at the Grain Market in Khanna.

Private traders are either purchasing wheat from the market at a higher price or at a lower price against the MSP fixed by the government. As farmers have sown wheat late this season, ripening got delayed due to cold weather.

“Last year farmers failed to sell their produce due to increased moisture content in wheat,” said Sandeep, a local arthiya (commission agent).

He said last year rains became a spoilsport during the harvesting season. The increased moisture content in wheat forced farmers to sell it below the MSP to private traders. Government procuring agencies had refused to lift wheat of those farmers whose moisture content was more than the prescribed.

Farmers also agitated over the non-lifting of wheat.

After Baisakhi, when farmers actually begin harvesting, more and more wheat produce is expected to reach the Grain Market.

The exact situation could be ascertained only after a week or so, said one of the commission agents.

While leaders of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) claimed that the yield would be less this season due to an early rise in temperature, however, local traders said they expected a higher yield as compared to the previous year. The agriculture department officials, too, admitted that the yield would suffer a loss of 5 to 8 per cent due to the rise in temperature and lack of water resources. 



Mixed response to challan drive
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
The police received a mixed reaction from the city residents for conducting a challan drive at the BCM Arya Model School in Sharstri Nagar here today.

While residents and some senior citizens of Model Town hailed the cops’ decision to conduct such drives on a regular basis, students preparing for exams resented the move.

Students complained that they were already under immense stress due to the exams and the challan drive had only become a cause of annoyance to them.

Randhir Sharma, a resident of Shastri Nagar, said, “I wonder how can parents give in to the wishes of their wards so easily. At this tender age, most of them possess expensive bikes and cars.”

“These schoolchildren have become a cause of nuisance in the locality. They come in swanky cars and perform dangerous stunts to impress their friends,” he added. On the other hand, peeved students complained against the police.

Sidharth, a student, said a majority of students could not reach their schools on time due to the challan drive.

It is learnt that the massive challan drive was launched following orders of Commissioner Ishwar Singh.

Gurpreet Kaur said the challan drive would continue and it would be conducted outside other schools too.

Pooja, a homemaker, supported the police, as she said, “Stringent steps need to be taken against those who flout rules.” Vandna Sinha, a homemaker said, “Although, we appreciate the drive, it’s is not possible to keep children away from motorbikes and cars, as these things have become a necessity these days. It is virtually impossible to attend classes and tuitions without any conveyance.”



Collection on Mughal era’s theme a crowd-puller
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
“The Woman-2010”, a three-day exhibition on fashion, kicked off at Hotel Majestic Park Plaza today. Jewellery, fashion and accessories were among the main attractions at this year’s exhibition.

The show has an array of exquisite and classic jewellery designs, ornate clothing and dazzling accessories in its repertoire.

Organiser of the exhibition Anupreet Sethi said the flamboyant somber show celebrating fashion at a grandiose level would let women celebrate the free spirit with all articles associated with them.

“True to its name, this highly praised woman-oriented exhibition is showcasing all classic sorts for women ranging from jewellery, clothing, fashion accessories, footwear, bags, kitchen appliances, home furnishing, interiors and handicrafts,” she added. Women flocked around the stalls put up by Jaya Misra and Abhishek Surana, Sangeitaa A Joggani from Kolkata, Yellow Stone by Ranjeeta Bedi, Eransh by Deepa Arora, Mandavi.

Jaya Misra, a fashion designer, said her collection was inspired by the style and elegance of Mughal era.

“In this collection, I have converted necklaces into neckline of kurtas and bajuband into sleeves, which is bringing back the grandness of those erstwhile days in today’s time. With a wonderful fusion of tradition and modernity, the sensual collection reflects the elegance of women,” said Jaya Misra.



Industry for rollback of electricity duty hike
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
The Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said though industry had been demanding for a long time that electricity duty be subjected to VAT, the Punjab government had instead raised the duty from 10 to 13 percent and has urged the latter to immediately roll back the hike. With the increase in electricity duty the per unit cost will now come to 56 paise, it added.

Chamber president PD Sharma, while addressing a press conference in this context here today, said with a new power tariff hike proposed by the Punjab Regulatory Commission, the burden on industry would further go up.

“Apart from electricity duty the state government has imposed an octroi on power at 10 paise per unit, which is likely to rise to over than 80 paise per unit after the new tariff is announced”, Sharma stated.

"Nowhere in the country is electricity duty as high as in Punjab. In two other states the duty was raised to 10 per cent to garner revenues to increase power generation,” he added.



One drowned, another missing in Sutlej
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
One person drowned while another is still missing in Sutlej river at Mattewara village.The deceased has been identified as Kaser Singh (37), a resident of Boothgarh. His brother-in-law Ajaib Singh (36) from Sasrali village is still missing. According to reports, they went to buy wood across the river in Tajpur village this morning.

According to the police, while returning home, they decided to swim across the river. Eyewitness said as Kaser Singh jumped into the river, he started drowning and raised an alarm. Ajaib Singh threw his turban to help Kaser, but in vain. Watching Kaser drowning, Ajaib also jumped into the river but he was also swept away by the strong current of the river.

A major combing operation was launched following the incident and divers fished out the body Kaser Singh. The search operation was on till late evening.

A pal of gloom descended on Boothgarh and Sasrali villages. They were into the wood business for the last few years. 



Raikot youth among 17 death row convicts in UAE
Rakesh Gupta

Amarjeet Kaur and Harmandeep Kaur, mother and sister of Navjot Singh, show his photograph.
Amarjeet Kaur and Harmandeep Kaur, mother and sister of Navjot Singh, show his photograph. Photo by writer

Raikot, April 2
With another man, Navjot Singh alias Jyoti, 26, identified as one among the 17 Indians awarded the death sentence by a UAE court, the number of people belonging to the Jagraon area who were convicted has risen to three.

A driver by profession, Navjot went to the Gulf countries three and a half years ago and was residing in the area in UAE where a Pakistani was reported have been stabbed to death by a group of people. In the preliminary inquiry that was held he was not named as a suspect but was arrested later. All these years, he was confident would be released after the last court hearing, but was instead awarded the death sentence.

The lone brother of three sisters, Navjot’s father had expired 14 years ago. Though he went to the Gulf in search of better prospects fate deceived him as he could not achieve what he had set out to do.

Ravinder Singh of Bhaini Daradan village, a friend of Navjot who had gone along with him to Dubai to work there and, returned last year, said: “It’s very sad neither the Indian consulate not the company for which they worked took care to follow up the case registered there. All the youths who were sentenced to death did not know Arabic and were not even provided any translator so that they could know what fate had destined for them”.

Terming the whole incident as “unethical and against human rights”, he said the suspects who have been sentenced to death have all the rights to defend their case.

Gurmeet Singh, a relative of Navjot, said: “No one can ever believe a mob of about 50 Indians would attack some Pakistani to kill him without any motive. Moreover, it has been established the deceased was a smuggler. Both the Punjab and Indian governments should intervene in the fast, otherwise it would be too late”. Amarjit Kaur, Navjot’s mother, still hopes for some miracle that would bring her son back to the family. “I’m sure the Almighty isn’t so cruel He will take away my last hope of life”, she said.

Navjot’s sister, Harmandeep Kaur, with tears in her eyes is not letting go a photograph of her brother for even a second. “Some time back four Punjabi youths were killed by a Pakistani gang but as the suspects were Muslim none of them was punished. The police and the government there took the side of Muslims”.

Terming the Sharjah court’s decision as “arbitrary”, she added “I strongly believe the Indian government will do whatever is required for them”.



MC urged to give Rakh Bagh a facelift
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
Once bustling with activity and popular among the young and old alike, the city’s Rakh Bagh has lost is charm with few residents now interested in visiting the park.For children the ‘toy train’ was its major attraction but that too is nonfunctional. These days only those going for a walk in the morning or evening go to the park but they too face numerous problems.

Regular morning walkers have now shot off a letter to the municipal corporation on the lack of maintenance at Rakh Bagh, once known as the ‘paradise of Ludhiana’, which today is in a state of utter neglect, and urging the civic body to renovate the park. Ignored by the civic authorities for the past many years, there is virtually no upkeep of the garden and pathways meant for walkers as well as other infrastructure.

KS Kalia, who regularly goes for walks in the park, said in the letter: “Paths along the garden has many patches and holes where many walkers, especially senior citizens, have fallen down on several occasions. The uneven walking path gives a tough time to the walkers”.

Sandeep Singh, another regular walker, said the garden’s outer circle was always full of garbage that is burnt. “This results in smoke and hence becomes problematic for walkers. We come here for a refreshing air but often find the gardener burning the dry grass, which results in pollution. It becomes very difficult to breathe for those who are asthmatic or suffer from other respiratory diseases," he added.

“Not only this, water pipes often remain open and due, to the constant overflow, a stinking smell of stagnant water permeates the air. We come to Rakh Bagh to inhale fresh air and enjoy the serene surroundings but the smell puts us off”, said Ekta Chopra, another regular morning walker.

“In addition no one takes care of the flower beds and the lights that have been installed here for decoration are also in a bad condition,'" she added.

The major attraction of Rakh Bagh was its ‘toy train’ but it has not been functional for a very long time.

"The train used to be a major crowd puller but now it stands still. Sometime back it was announced it would be restarted but that has yet to happen," added 
Gurbax Singh, an evening walker.



Residents thrash thieves
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
Residents of Durgapuri in Haibowal nabbed three thieves and handed them over to the police after giving them a sound thrashing.The incident took place this afternoon when Sudhaker Dhanda, a resident of Palli Cable Street, spotted thieves in his house and raised an alarm.

He said he went to the market, along with his wife. On return, he saw three persons opening the door of his bedroom.

In the meantime, residents gathered at the spot and thrashed the thieves.

The trio was behind several cases of theft.

Residents alleged that the police instead of taking action against the thieves reprimanded them for beating up the thieves.

The Haibowal police did not take any action against the trio till the filling of this report.



PAU Notes
Course on seed production
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
The Directorate of Extension Education, PAU, will organise a two-day training course on seed production of vegetable crops on April 5 and 6 at Kairon Kisan Ghar.About 25 participants, including the horticultural development officials, district extension specialists and teachers of Kirshi Vigyan Kendras will participate in the course.

The programme will have deliberations by experts on different aspects of seed production in vegetable crops, including tomato, pea, garlic, carrot, beans, onion, pumpkin, muskmelon, potato, brinjal, radish, watermelon, cucumber, chili, okra and leafy vegetables.

The participants will also be provided tips on health care and weed management in vegetable seed crops. 



Woman’s gold chain snatched in Kitchlu Nagar
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 2
An unidentified youth reportedly snatched a gold chain from a woman in Block C, Kitchlu Nagar, here this afternoon.According to the victim, Bittu Mishra, a schoolteacher, a youth in his mid-20s requested her to help him in locating the address of a resident. She said the address was written in Punjabi and she told the youth the house he was looking for was not situated in the Block C colony.

The victim stated the moment she handed over the slip back to the youth, he “pounced” on her and snatched her chain. She said though she raised an alarm and even gave chase to the snatcher, the later managed to flee the scene. “The youth fled on a motorbike along with his accomplice who was waiting for him outside the colony”, she added.

This is the second incident of snatching reported in the Block C area during the past one week.

Area residents complained snatching cases have been on the rise after a private clinic was opened in the locality. They alleged snatchers posing as relatives of patients had been entering the colony and snatching gold ornaments from women.

Meanwhile, the police said it had begun investigations into today’s incident.



Two held with 2-kg opium
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, April 2
The Dakha police today nabbed two youths and recovered two kg of opium from their possession. The accused have been identified as Joga Singh and Tehal Singh, both residents of Kang Kotha village near Lohian. Following a tip-off the police nabbed the duo with the contraband near Humbran T Point.

 The accused were on their way to Mullanpur Dakha from Humbran on a motorcycle (PB-67-A-4073). A case under the NDPS Act has been registered against the accused. 



Migrant labourers attack cops
Our Correspondent

Khamano, April 2
Some migrant labourers, who were in an inebriated state, attacked a police party at Maheshpura village.The labourers work at a brick kiln here.According to information, a two-member police party had gone to the brick kiln to enquire about the identity of a person, who had died in an accident yesterday.

As constable Satnam Singh and home guard Kashmira Singh of Sanghol chowki, which falls under the Khamano police station, started questioning labourers, some of them who were under the influence of liquor thrashed the policemen and even tore their uniforms.

The cops had to run in order to save their lives.

Later, they reported the matter to the chowki in charge who then went to the brick kiln with a police party and arrested the labourers.

A case was registered under Sections 353, 186, 332, 148 and 149 IPC against Ramesh Kumar, Maharaja Singh, Chauhan, Kamlesh and Rohit Kumar.



2-year-old raped
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, April 2
In a ghastly incident, a 50-year-old man allegedly raped a two-year-old girl yesterday.

The accused, Hardev Singh of Malla village, went to the victim’s house in an inebriated state last evening.

Her father Darshan Singh had asked the accused to look after the child, as her mother was away and even he had to go somewhere.

On return, Darshan found the girl bleeding profusely. Darshan raised an alarm and after handing over the accused to his neighbours, he took the girl to the Civil Hospital, Jagraon.

Before handing over the accused to the police, residents thrashed him badly.

Medical report of the girl has confirmed rape.

A case under Sections 376, 452 IPC has been registered against the accused.



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