L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Rs 2.8 lakh looted from bank, 3 employees hurt
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Kohara, April 5
In a daring daylight robbery at a bank in Kohara eight armed assailants attacked three employees, injuring them and decamping with cash amounting to Rs 2.8 lakh this afternoon.

The incident took place at around 3:15 pm when a masked man entered the State Bank of India branch located on the Kohara-Macchiwara road, followed by another man. The duo, carrying countrymade pistols and sharp-edged weapons, overpowered the bank guard, Bhupinder Singh, and began thrashing him.

The assailants then snatched the gun from Bhupinder, who was guarding the entrance, and hit him on his head with its butt. He was also stabbed in the buttock with a dagger after which he fell unconscious.

Soon thereafter six more masked men, armed with daggers and two countrymade pistols, entered the bank and ransacked the premises. They tried to fire shots with their pistols but these did not work.

The robbers then took cashier Vivek Sehgal hostage and dragged him into the bank’s strong room from where they picked up Rs 2 lakh in cash after stabbing Sehgal in the right buttock and back. The assailants then collected Rs 80,000 in cash from the counters outside and injured another bank employee, Rakesh Kumar. The latter was also stabbed in the forearm with a sharp-edged weapon.

The police said the robbers damaged the CCTV cameras as soon as they entered the bank premises to destroy evidence. They remained inside the bank only for five or six minutes and fled the scene with the cash on motorcycles.

A case under sections 395 of the IPC was registered at the Sahnewal police station, according to SHO Gurbans Singh Bains.

Meanwhile, the injured were admitted to Christian Medical College & Hospital, Ludhiana and were stated to be out of danger.

Shopkeepers’ callousness

Rakesh Kumar, a peon with the bank, said as soon as he saw the robbers entering the premises he ran outside and shouted for help. “However, instead of helping the bank staff shopkeepers in the neighbourhood downed their shutters as if nothing had happened”, he rued. "It was really shocking for me. I was crying for help and nobody came forward to rescue us”, he said in a statement to the police


CCTV footage

Though the robbers managed to damage the CCTV cameras, the police was able to get hold of a part of the footage captured by them. “The robbers would soon be identified”, the cops said


Adoption Scheme
9-yr-old tiger gets foster parent
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 5
Deepak, a nine-year-old tiger at the Tiger Safari Ludhiana, was adopted by Harbans Singh, a member of the management committee of Park Plaza, today. Having adopted Deepak under the animal adoption scheme started in the zoos of Punjab, Harbans Singh, in his capacity of a foster parent of the tiger, has given the first instalment of Rs 21,600 for Deepak’s food and shelter for three months.

Expressing his commitment to the cause of wildlife and environment, Harbans Singh said: “I did not know about this scheme. Had I known earlier, I would have adopted the tiger long ago. This initiative is commendable and I will motivate my friends and family to come forward for the cause,” he stated, adding that he would renew Deepak’s adoption after three months to extend support to the cause of saving tigers in India.

It was the duty of every Indian to contribute for the cause, he added.

Meanwhile, the district forest department has generated additional revenue of Rs 8,91,000 through auction of the Tiger Safari bus, parking and canteen.

District forest officer Vishal Chauhan said: “The bus was auctioned for Rs 6,60,000 as compared to Rs 2,31,000 last year. The parking and canteen have been auctioned for Rs 2,65,000 against a meagre amount of Rs 11,000 last year.”

This amount would make a significant difference in improving the condition of the zoo and Tiger Safari as the funds would be better utilised for giving food and shelter to the animals, he said.

“To ensure proper and fair utilisation of funds, a zoo development society is being established, wherein people from all walks of life, including wildlife experts and NGOs, would be involved,” he added.

Meanwhile, the chief wildlife warden, Punjab, Jatinder Sharma, has welcomed the adoption of the young tiger in Ludhiana zoo. “The joint effort on the part of conservationists and the forest department can make a huge difference as it can sustain tigers and add to their strength in the zoos of Punjab,” he stated.



Students faint on seeing question paper
Gurdeep Singh Mann and Gurminder Grewal
Tribune News Service

Khanna/Khamano, April 5
A large number of students of Class X at various government schools affiliated to the Punjab School Education Board across Khanna and adjoining Fatehgarh Sahib were taken aback after going through the question paper of computer science subject, as most of the questions were out of syllabus.

Parents, teachers and examination superintendents said a few students after going through the question paper fainted and girls started crying.

The school authorities admitted that first aid was given to some students in Khanna and parents of some girls were also called in for help.

Village elderly tried to console the students and urged the teachers to look into the matter. A computer science teacher in Master Karnail Singh Memorial Government Senior Secondary in Issru village admitted that the questions were out of syllabus. The teachers said 40 per cent questions were out of syllabus and many questions were from the syllabus of Class VIII.

However, the students even failed to answer the questions of Class VIII as computer science subject has been recently introduced and they could only answer those questions, which they have prepared.

“It was C paper of computer science subject and we all studied well, but to our surprise, the question paper was completely out of syllabus,” said Karanveer, a student of Khanna. He said while many students managed to leave the centre after answering a few questions, most of the students failed to comprehend and got confused to even answer other questions which were not out of syllabus. The teachers deputed at various centres asked the students to sit and relax in waiting rooms.

A teacher in the examination centre at Issru village said the panic stricken students were crying badly and failed to write anything to get even passing marks. The teachers said the computer science subject was made compulsory this year by the Punjab School Education Board in Class X.



And now, we have mobile liquor vends
Rakesh Gupta

Mullanpur Dakha, April 5
One has come across many mobile vends and outlets - mobile ATMs, hospitals, eating joints among them. And now get ready for mobile liquor vends, thanks to the indifferent attitude of the district administration and the police and the supportive attitude of the excise department.

From April 1 the ownership of many liquor retail outlets have changed hands with new contractors entering the business in many areas of the state. The latter have no other option but to take over the premises belonging to the previous contractors, who have refused to hand them over in several cases.

In the absence of an appropriate outlet to sell the liquor, the new contractors have found a novice way. They have set up their godowns elsewhere and have hired vehicles on daily basis to sell the booze. Interestingly many such vehicles can be seen in rural areas in the deep interiors where they can avoid being noticed by the authorities.

One such ‘mobile liquor vend’ is seen selling liquor daily on the national highway near Gahour village, where scores of vehicles of government officials pass daily. To conceal their identity of the vehicle and possible action by the police or excise department, these mobile vends remove their registration plates before going into action.



An apology for a morgue
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 5
The mortuary at the Civil Hospital here is not equipped to even accommodate 10 dead bodies coming for postmortem — on an average — to the hospital daily. Two of the four refrigerators are not operational at the morgue. The refrigerators were donated by an NGO, but the department does not even have funds to get them repaired. In addition, the absence of forensic expert makes it more difficult as the postmortems are either conducted by the general surgeon or MBBS doctors who are not really skilled for the job. The purpose of identifying the actual cause of death through a postmortem stands defeated in the process.

Also, many a time, the bodies are kept in the mortuary for a long time as doctors are not available to conduct the postmortem. With the rise in temperature, the bodies that are kept for a longer period begin to emit foul smell.

Despite repeated reminders by doctors, the department of health and family welfare has not only failed to depute a forensic expert, but also the need for a fully equipped mortuary has been ignored.

Requesting anonymity, a senior doctor working at the hospital said two forensic experts passed out from medical colleges every year, but the department
of health had not filled vacant posts.

“The indifference can be gauged from the fact that the bodies are not even provided with shrouds. It is worse in the case of unidentified bodies that are brought to the hospital from accident sites,” he said.

The apathetic attitude of the department was shocking when it came to the disposal of unidentified bodies a few months ago. Now, Samvedna, an NGO, has taken the initiative to cremate such bodies.

The DMCH and the CMCH get patients from all over the state and medico-legal death cases come to the Civil Hospital for a postmortem. Due to poor infrastructure at the mortuary, there is inordinate delay in the postmortem.

Besides, instruments, including drills to cut the skull and electric saw that facilitate the cutting of bones, are missing, making postmortem more time consuming.

The officiating civil surgeon, Dr Reena Sandhu, said the SMO was the right person to address the issue as the mortuary came under him. When the SMO, Dr Harvinder Singh, was contacted, he said he was busy in a meeting and later did not respond to calls made by this reporter.



Steel prices soar; small units worst hit
Manav Mander/Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 5
Constant increase in steel prices is working against micro small and medium enterprises (MSME). The Steel Authority of India (SAIL) has increased the prices of steel by Rs 2,500 per tonne while the Rashtriya Ispat Nigam has increased it by Rs 4,000 per tonne.

The price of long products was increased by Rs 6,000 and flat products by Rs 8,000.

The worst affected by the ever-increasing prices of steel are the MSMEs. “Generally, the raw material producer gives rebate on the purchase of high volume of raw material, but since small units do not have huge purchasing power they fail to get any rebate. Moreover, smaller units cannot avail of cheaper imported raw materials for the same reason,” PD Sharma, president of the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, stated.

“Though it is expected that the prices will not rise further in the new financial year, it seems to be a distant dream,” Badish K Jindal, chairman of the Punjab chapter of the Federation of Associations of Small Industries of India, said.

Another industrialist, Manohar Verma, said it was expected that the prices of steel would be stabilised in the new financial year. “But contrary to that, prices were increased on the very first day, April 1. The cartel formed by the steel companies is adversely affecting the small sector and the steel price regulatory authority should be formed to check the increase of constant rise in steel prices,” he said.



Bills not cleared
PAU authorities in a fix to release salary
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 5
The authorities at Punjab Agricultural University are in a fix to make the payment of salary to the teaching and the non-teaching staff of the university for March. The state government has not cleared the salary bill of Rs 8.42 crore for March. Rs 8.34 crore is the monthly salary bill and Rs 1.08 crore is the balance amount of Rs 4.34 crore as 20 per cent share of the state government in the enhanced pay scales of the teachers as recommended by the Central Pay Commission.

Being the state funded university, Punjab Government pays Rs 104 crore as an annual grant to PAU.

Enquires made by The Tribune show that the PAU authorities have to send the monthly salary bill to the state government every month for clearance and only then the cheque is issued by the state treasury.

The authorities concerned had sent the bill to the government which was reportedly cleared, but the treasury has not issued the cheque, as a result the university staff did not receive the salary.

The PAU has remained in the grip of financial crisis and the university authorities have been pressing on the state government to grant quarterly sanction of the salary bill instead of monthly clearance as this system causes delay in the disbursement of salary.

Meanwhile, the university has received a grant of Rs 15 crore under the plan and Rs 5 crore has already been received. With this amount, the university authorities are making payment to the retirees. The retirees have not received the pension for five months.



31 poor girl students felicitated
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 5
Proud moments and cheerful smiles marked the felicitation ceremony of 31 meritorious girl students at Sanatan Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School here last evening. The girls, all from economically weaker section of the society, were felicitated for excellence in academics by the Punjab unit of Shakti, a project run by Anandmurti Gurumaa.

The students were given mementoes, award of honour and cash prizes by Varinder Sachdeva, president, Shakti, Punjab unit.

Sachdeva said: "Shakti is a project founded to save, educate and empower the girl child."

"The project has been taking positive steps for empowering the girls by providing support to the daughters of widows, single mothers, disabled and war martyrs, so as to enable them to complete their basic education upto Class XII," he added.

A cultural programme was also held. Bhajans, Sufi music and qawwali were the main attractions. Also present on the occasion were president of SVM Senior Secondary School Rajesh Kashyap, principal Sadhna Sharma, executive members of Shakti Parveen Khaara, VK Khullar, Shammi Madan, Rakesh Arora, Rajan Sachdeva, Sudhir Sehgal, Ravinder Aggarwal and Surinder Kamal Chopra.

Meanwhile, 17-year-old Sakshi, a Class XII student of Khalsa Girls' Senior Secondary School, was rewarded by Shakti at a function here last evening.

Studying on her own, without any coaching or educational support from her family, this vegetable vendor's daughter, has still, been a topper throughout her academic career.

Striving hard to make a mark, Sakshi says she wants to study and achieve great heights in whatever field she finally joins after completion of her higher education.

A BCA aspirant says, "My family has always been supportive, but in case they would not be able to afford higher studies for me, I will take up a job after Class XII and try to earn to study further."



Tributes paid to Dr Pooni
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 5
Noted writers, poets and educationists from the city paid tributes to Dr Amrik Singh Pooni, a noted Punjabi poet and former chief secretary, Punjab, who died following a prolonged illness on Saturday evening.

Dr Pooni was also the president of the Punjabi Sahitya Akademi, Ludhiana, from 1996 to 2002.

Amongst others who expressed their grief and shock at the demise of Dr Pooni was Dr Manjit Singh Kang, Vice-Chancellor, Punjab Agricultural University, who said he was a multifaceted personality and did a commendable work in the field of writing.

Dr Khem Singh Gill and Dr Kirpal Singh Aulakh, former Vice-Chancellors, PAU, Dr SS Johl, former chairman, Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, Dr SP Singh, former Vice-Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, Dr Surjit Patar, former president PSA, PAU, additional director communication, Dr Jagtar Singh Dhiman, Ravinder Bhathal, former secretary PSA, Prof Gurbhajan Gill, former senior vice-president PSA, Dr Nirmal Jaura, and many more also condoled the death of Dr Pooni.

“Pooni Sahib was like my elder brother and a teacher from whom I learnt many things about life,” said Iqbal Mahal on a telephonic message from Toronto, Canada, adding, “His demise is my personal loss.”

Born on October 9, 1935 at Jindowal village, Jalandhar district, Dr Amrik Singh Pooni was an IAS officer of the 1965 batch.

He published anthologies of ghazals namely, Kandiali Raah (1974), Nange Paer (1977), Paani Vich Lakeeraan (1986), Moye Mausam Da Marseea (1991), Rut Aaye Rut Jaaye (1999), Asur ton Sur Tak (2000), Akkhin Vekh Na Rajjeeaan (2006), Aakhan Vala Kya Vechara (2007) and Aapay Naal Turdean (2010). He was bestowed with many coveted awards and honours in literary and civil circles.

Dr Amrik Singh Pooni is survived by his wife Parkash Kaur, two sons and two daughters.



From Schools and Colleges
‘Uddham Singh’ leaves audience spellbound

A colourful fancy dress competition was held at Ram Lal Bhasin Public School, Phase I, Dugri. Kids dressed up in attractive attires performed and delighted audience. Dressed up as models, actors, historical figures, politicians and teachers, the children mesmerised everyone. The highlight of the day, however, was a kid dressed up as Uddham Singh, who left all present spellbound with his performance and dialogues. School headmistress congratulated the winners and gave away the prizes.

Teachers’ training workshop

BCM School, Basant Avenue, Dugri, organised a teachers’ training programme here today. Resource persons for the workshop were Partap Public School principal Gurshminder Singh Jagpal and Manmeet Grewal, a renowned psychologist and president of an NGO “Aagaz”.

Gurshminder Singh focused on teachers and gave tips on how a teacher could be interactive, informative, innovative and understanding. Manmeet Grewal made the teachers aware about the adolescents behaviour, problems and stress management. She gave various useful tips to the teachers so that they could help the students to emerge out of their emotional, psychological and social problems and face challenges of the life. School principal, Dr Vandna Shahi, said, “Children should be nurtured with love and care and it is the responsibility of both parents as well as teachers to enhance the overall personality of the child.”


A havan was performed to mark the beginning of the new session at BCM Senior Secondary School, Chandigarh road, here today. Mahatma Satyanand Ji Munjal was the chief guest, while parents were among the distinguished guests present on the occasion. With havan, the teachers and students sought blessings of the Almighty for a bright and successful academic year ahead.

Athletics meet

Ludhiana College of Engineering and Technology (LCET), Katani Kalan, organised an athletics meet recently on its campus with great enthusiasm. LCET principal, Dr Pawan Kumar, welcomed Vijay Gupta, chairman of the college management committee, who was the guest of honour. Director LCET, Dr JS Sohal, declared the annual athletics meet open. His address was followed by a marchpast by the participating athletes.


Students of Bhutta College of Engineering and Technology brought laurels to the college by scoring excellent marks in MBA I semester held by Punjab Technical University in December 2009. The students bagged first division, out of which 76 per cent students scored over 70 per cent marks, informed Dr VK Sharma, college principal.

Preety stood first in the college and Neha Arora got second position, while Kusum Bhalla secured the third rank. — TNS



Community care centre for HIV/AIDS patients soon
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 5
In an endeavour to treat chronically ill patients suffering from HIV/AIDS, the Punjab State AIDS Control Society (PSACS) will soon start a community care centre in the Red Cross laboratory on the Brown road, Ludhiana.

This 10-bedded hospital will cater to the patients undergoing treatment at the ART centre in Ludhiana, who are unable to pay frequent visits owing to their deteriorated condition.

The PSACS has sanctioned an amount of Rs 21.05 lakh for the project and the first installment of Rs 12.75 lakh has already been handed over to the Red Cross Society, Ludhiana.

Dr NM Sharma, additional project director of PSACS, referred to the project as a “respite” to the HIV/AIDS patients who cannot afford to pay for their stay at private hospitals. “A team comprising one doctor, a counsellor, three nurses, four outreach health workers, one part-time lab technician, along with a project coordinator and an accountant will be appointed for the community care centre. The team will ensure observance of the treatment of the chronically ill HIV/AIDS patients,” said Dr Sharma.

The interviews for the above staff will be conducted on April 16 under the supervision of the Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, and a member of PSACS, Chandigarh.

Welcoming the decision of the PSACS to open up the community care centre for the HIV/AIDS patients, an outreach worker working at the Integrated Counselling and Treatment Centre (ICTC) said, “The centre will motivate some chronic patients who have given up hope to live as their families too are not supporting them in terms of treatment. There would be the need to add more beds in the centre gradually as the number of such patients could be much more,” the outreach worker went on to add.



129 donate blood
Our Correspondent

Khamano, April 5
A blood donation camp was organised at Sarvhitkari Vidya Mandir School by the Bharat Vikas Parishad. A total of 129 persons, including women, donated blood.

A team of trained doctors from the PGI collected blood. The camp was inaugurated by Advocate Tejinder Singh. The blood donors were given certificates and an award of honour.

SVM management member, Khamano, Dr JS Rana, Dr Sunil Gupta, president, Dr Davinder Dania, manager, Prem Singh, Anshul Gupta, Deepak Verma, Jaspal Singh, Rakesh Kumar and many volunteers of the local social service organisations, Bharat Vikas Parishad, Sarvhitkari Football Club, Khamano, took active part in the camp and felicitated the donors.



Hunger strike by BSNL staff

Ludhiana, April 5
Casual and Contract Workers Union of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) today sat on a hunger strike. Sukhchain Singh Channi, president, said nearly 150 telephone mechanics, 60 sweepers and 48 peons, computer operators, ac operators and sand mechanics were thrown out of their jobs on March 17.

"Though we have organised a number of rallies and protests in front of the GM’s office, but to no avail. Number of rallies were organised in front of the DC’s office, but no action has been taken so far," he said. The department is filling those posts by recruiting new people. "Department cannot recruit people like this," he added. — TNS



Fashion expo gives hubbies the shakes!

The year’s much awaited fashion event, 'The Woman 2010', is an occasion that brings the city’s women great delight. However, many men dread the very thought of having to tag along to the show with their wives and, much before it begins, start looking for excuses to avoid the shopping sprees that their intend to go on during the exhibition. While many give ‘office’ and ‘important meeting’ as an excuse for not accompanying their women to the expo, there are others who feign illness at the last-minute. However, there are others who find themselves unable to evade the event, which is largely a ‘by the women, for the women and of the women’ affair.

Many such men were seen whiling away the time during the expo while their wives, girlfriends, fiancées, mothers, daughters and sisters shopped away to glory at the exhibition. While some murmured under their breath about the “pain” of having been caught up in the grind, others made the most of the day by taking a quick nap on the stairs of the venue (see pic).

Cong remains a divided house

Even after being in the opposition for over three years now and having lost all the assembly seats in the last elections, the Congress party - or at least its councillors in the municipal corporation - remain a divided house. That the councillors are a faction-ridden lot was more than evident recently when a new ‘group leader’ in the civic body was to be nominated. An elaborate exercise undertaken by the Congress leadership to depute a senior party leader to have a one on one talk with each councillor failed to break the deadlock and lead to a consensus. With the result that the party leadership has now named two councillors who will act as a ‘group leader’ for a year each. Apparently, the party is not looking towards the next elections, which are only about two years away. Only time will tell whether the Congress ranks, specifically the MC councilors, learn a lesson from their previous drubbing or let the ruling SAD-BJP have the last laugh and take advantage of the situation.

Taking it all in stride

Humility comes easy to experienced and wise men, as they learn to take everything in their stride. At a recent dance show the organiser was invited for a private party where she began telling the guests about Bollywood and its glamour. In the process she offered to find some roles for the young city lads who expressed their keenness to act. Mistaking a gentleman's patient hearing for his interest to act, the lady offered to find a suitable role for him on the small screen. She was unaware of the fact that the man was a seasoned theatre director and actor from the National School of Drama. When apprised of his credentials by one of the guests, all the lady could say was ‘Oh!’

April Fools’ Day hoaxes

All Fools’ Day was not restricted to family members and friends but also made its presence felt in the city’s newspaper offices, which received numerous fake calls on April 1. While someone rang up to report a fire, another caller said a major theft had taken place. Reporters were on their toes all throughout the day, as they cannot ignore any phone call. The best part came when the police as well as reporters arrived at a specific place to enquire about the theft, only to learn no such incident had taken place. The inhabitants of the house where the cops and journos had gone were shocked to see a huge crowd outside their house.

Why should boys have all the fun?

A few days ago I was caught at the crossroads of desire and selfishness. I was trying to justify my decision of buying my dream 500cc motorcycle. However, I was feeling guilty due to the fact that recently I had shelved the idea of buying a bicycle for my niece, the one she was longing for, as it was expensive. The sense of being selfish was making me guilty. I was quite keen to take a loan to buy a motorcycle. However, I couldn’t spend a few hundred rupees to buy her a cycle!

I pondered over my quandary a lot and tried to justify myself, but eventually failed. Now I’ve decided first I would buy a bicycle for my niece and only then would I think of buying a motorbike. After all, why should boys have all the fun?


When Ludhianvis rose to the call given by the World Wildlife Fund to observe Earth Hour on March 27 and sent messages by various means to create awareness about the event, several SMSes made every recipient smile. There were people who left no chance to take a dig at the power crunch being faced by the state when they were at their satirical best in the messages. One of them said: "I’m proud of my government that has taken the lead to observe an extended Earth Hour everyday by imposing forcible power cuts. However, you should help this endeavour further by voluntarily putting off lights during that hour”.

Contributions by Charu Chhibber, Kuldip Bhatia, Anshu Seth, Manav Mander, Mohit Khanna, Kanchan Vasdev.



NRIs misusing Rent Control Act, say tenants
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 5
The amendment made in the Punjab Urban Rent Control Act by the state government to provide relief to the non-residents Indians (NRIs) are being misused to seek eviction of bonafide tenants to the extent that many properties are transferred in the name of NRIs just to get the rented portion vacated.

At a meeting of the NRI Affected Tenants Association here yesterday under the presidentship of Inderjit Singh Chopra, he expressed concern over the misuse of Section 13-B of the Act which was incorporated to extend relief to those NRIs who wished to make investment in Punjab and wanted rented portions of their properties vacated, so as to start their business.

Chopra and other speakers at the meeting alleged that so far more than 150 shops and other commercial properties owned by NRIs had been vacated in the city, but not a single NRI had started any business venture in these properties, as had been claimed before the court in the eviction suits filed by the owners.

As a result of the flawed provision in the Act, hundreds of shopkeepers and businessmen had been uprooted with their means of livelihood having been snatched away.

The affected tenants made a fervent plea with the state government to carry out an amendment in the Act relating to NRI properties.

"While safeguarding the rights of the NRI owners of commercial and residential properties, the interests of the tenants should also be kept in mind," they stressed.

Several other bodies of shopkeepers in the city, including the Medicine Retail Shopkeepers Association, Ram Sharnam Shopkeepers Association, Sarb Dharm Federation, Punjab and Jan Chetna Mandal, Punjab have extended support to the NRI-affected tenants while calling upon the government to evolve a mechanism to curb the misuse of the Act.



SAD-BJP govt has failed on all fronts: Cong
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 5
Local MP and All India Congress Committee national spokesman Manish Tewari on Saturday lashed out at the Akali-BJP government in Punjab for “failing on all fronts, be it economy, finance, industry, power, law and order or procurement of farmers’ crops”.

Addressing a series of meetings in various villages in the Ludhiana parliamentary constituency, Tewari said, “The plight of a state can be well imagined when its finance minister himself says he is worried every morning over how to pay interest on the Rs 65,000 crore debt pending against Punjab”.

“This government hasn’t even been able to lift farmers’ crops and they are facing a lot of harassment. Similarly, industry is shifting to other states and there has been no fresh investments as the government failed to provide them any incentives,” Tewari asserted. He also ridiculed the Akalis for claiming the central development schemes as their own.

He said the central government had launched 15 central government development schemes in the district, but the zila parishad chairman was projecting them to be those of the state government.

“The central government undertook various schemes in the state as this government didn’t have the money to pay even the salaries to its employees”, he added.

Tewari was accompanied by Jagraon MLA Gurdeep Singh Bhaini, senior Congress leader Jagpal Singh Khangura, former minister Malkiat Singh Dakha, Pawan Dewan and others.



Biz Clips
SME Banking Award
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 5
ICICI Bank has been awarded the best SME Banking Award for 2009 at the ninth Asian Banker Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards Programme. ICICI Bank emerged as the winner among over 120 banks and financial institutions from 23 countries across Asia Pacific, Gulf and Central Asian regions.

TV premiere

Airtel Digital TV-the DTH service from Bharti Airtel has announced the television premiere of "Right Yaa Wrong" featuring actors Sunny Deol, Irrfan Khan, Konkana Sen and Isha Koppikar on its pay per view service. This film will be available on digital TV. The film can be viewed on channel no 180 for only Rs 50 and customers can order it either for a full day or for any of the shows in a day by visiting the website www.airtel.in/digitalty <http://www.airtel.in/digitalty>.

Priority lounge

Axis Bank today launched its first Priority Lounge for high networth families in Ludhiana. Manpreet Singh Ayali, chairman of zila parishad, inaugurated the lounge located at the Axis Bank branch at The Mall.

The lounge has been designed keeping in mind the various requirements of the customers. It has a business centre to conduct business meeting, a meeting room for clients to discuss investments or transactions, along with their relationship manager in comfort and confidentiality and a fun zone for kids to play, while clients conduct their banking transactions. The lounge also has an Internet access zone and a lounge area to relax.



Bittu blames state govt for financial mess
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 5
Punjab Youth Congress (PYC) president Ravneet Singh Bittu today charged the SAD-BJP government in Punjab with failure on all fronts, especially the financial mess prevailing in the state, which was the outcome of wrong and shortsighted policies.

Inaugurating the new office of ward No 27 president Saabi Toor here today, Bittu alleged that most of the Central grants provided by the government for various development projects in towns and villages of the state had either lapsed or were recalled because the state government had failed to contribute its share.

He said not only the state government had been clueless to the dismal power situation for quite sometime now, its lack of vision and will had adversely affected the trade and industrial activity with investors shying away from setting up the new units.

Even many of the existing units had either migrated to other states or were in the process of doing so in the wake of adverse working conditions, power shortage and heavy burden of taxes.

Bittu, who is also Congress MP from Anandpur Sahib, dwelt upon various community service projects that the party intended to undertake in different parts of Punjab on the World Health Day being observed on April 7.

Dimple Rana, president of District Youth Congress (DYC), stated that as per the directions of the party leadership, the DYC had set up a team of 10 party workers in each ward of the city under the ongoing “Aam Admi ka Sipahi" programme. These teams are propagating the policies of the party among people, besides reaching out to the masses and coordinating various community welfare projects like medical check-up camps, tree plantation and awareness against social evils.

Earlier, Hem Raj Aggarwal, group leader of Congress councillors in the civic body, extended a warm welcome to the PYC president. Niranjan Singh Toor, Raju Arora, Munish Shah, Anil Parti, Harish Dua, Kuldeep Sharma, Tejinder Chahal, Balraj Jagota, Nevdeep Cheema, Gurpreet Dugri, Rohit Mehta, Sanjeev Rana, Kapil Joshi, Rajiv Guglani, Vineet Latia, Sunny Dhillon, Daljit Singh and Abbas Rana were also present.



Death sentence to 17 in Dubai
Cong committee turns to God
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 5
The District Congress Committee (Urban) performed a havan at a temple here today to seek God’s help in the release of 17 youths sentenced to death in Dubai. Led by DCC president Jagmohan Sharma, the leaders sat in the religious ceremony for two hours and prayed for the immediate release of the youths.

Besides writing a letter to the Prime Minister and United Nations, Sharma said they had left the matter on the Almighty now. “Only He can help the youths and their parents in this terrible time. Otherwise no sense prevails over countries like Dubai. They can do anything of the sort,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Shiromani Akali Dal (New Delhi) has decided to meet AICC president Sonia Gandhi to take up the matter with the Dubai government to seek mercy for the convicts.

Party state president JS Balliewal said he along with Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee president PS Sarna would take a delegation to the Congress chairperson and press upon her to take up the matter with the Dubai government.



Leena’s appointment postponed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 5
Giving in to the protests by members of Mahila Congress in the city, the state leadership of the party today held back the appointment of Leena Taparia as president of the outfit.

Leena was named the president by the supremo of Mahila State Congress, Rattna, on April 3. Following the development, the members of the District Mahila Congress had lodged their protests yesterday.

After considering the voices of dissent, Rattna faxed a letter to the media that Leena’s appointment has been postponed for some reasons.

The agitating members interpreted the orders as cancellation of her appointment. “It is for sure that her appointment has been put in a cold storage for now,” said Shashi Sood, a member.

Meanwhile, Leena addressed a media conference and said she would soon name other office-bearers of the wing. She said she would stake a claim on a ticket for the Assembly elections in the state as no woman ever given a ticket by the party.



Sona loves singing traditional songs
Manav Mander/Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 5
Sona Walia, a singer, released her second album “Kuri Punjaban” here today. Though she migrated to UK some 15 years ago, she is completely in love with Punjab and Punjabi.

Hailing from Jalandhar, Sona always love to sing traditional songs. Remembering her childhood days she said, “There was no one in my family who had a bent towards singing. I was the only one who wanted to sing and my parents always supported me. It was only due to the encouragement and support from my family that I was able to fulfill my dreams,” she said.

Going down the memory lane Sona said, “I still remember I use to practice for hours on my harmonium. It was my obsession during those days,” she smiles.

Her first album “Resham di Door” with Apache Indian received great response from the public in India and abroad. She had also received the best debut female singer award by PTC.



CBI raid at income tax inspector’s house
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, April 5
The CBI team, from Chandigarh, today raided the house of Ranjit Singh Brar, an income tax officer posted at Moga. Brar, in order to settle the case of a businessman, demanded Rs 50,000. Infuriated business man approached the Moga vigilance department, but they expressed their inability to act against the department governed by the Central government and advised him to approach the CBI.

The business man then approached the CBI Chandigarh office. Setting the trap, the CBI advised the business man to remain calm and negotiate with the officer.

The deal was finally settled for Rs 25,000. Today after the chemically treated currency notes of the amount was delivered to Brar, the CBI team nabbed the accused.

The investigation by the Ludhiana Tribune revealed that the CBI had laid its trap around 11 am at his office as well as at his residence at Dakha.

Around 2 pm when the CBI nabbed Brar, the team of CBI stormed into the house of Brar where his wife and his nephew were present. Thereafter, the Chandigarh team brought Brar here and started the search operation at his house to recover unaccounted money and property documents.

The CBI team also searched the house of Brar’s brother that was adjoining his house.

Till the writing of the report, the search operation was on and the CBI sleuths refused to give any details.



Residents oppose opening of liquor vend
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 5
Residents of Himmat Singh Nagar today protested against the opening of a liquor vend in their area. Residents, including women in large numbers, opposed the opening of the vend, making people working at the vend site flee.

A resident, Kiranjit Kaur, said since it was a residential area a liquor vend should not be opened there. “The opening of a liquor vend in a residential area will lead to problems,” she said.

Talwinder Singh, another resident, said the opening of the vend would only lead to bad habits among the youth.

“We strictly protest against its opening in the residential area,” he stated.



Pensioners urge state govt to release dearness relief
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 5
The Pensioners Information Centre Management Committee has urged the state government to release installment of dearness relief of 8 per cent so as to raise the same for the present level of 27 to 35 per cent to all government pensioners and family pensioners with effect from January, 2010.

In a statement issued here today, committee chairman BR Kaushal said the Central government had released the additional dearness relief over a month ago to both its serving employees and pensioners. Since the Punjab government has been following the centre in all such matters, the state government pensioners, including family pensioners, ought to be given the additional dearness relief without any delay.

He also asked the state government to specify the policy regarding the release of arrears which had fallen due on January 1, 2006 on the revision of pay scales of the employees and the amount of pension and family pension from the said date since the union government had already released the arrears to both serving and retired employees.



Wheat harvest at night banned
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 5
The District Magistrate, Rahul Tewari, today banned the use of combine for harvesting of wheat from 7 pm to 8 am in the district. The order will remain in forced until May 31.

The District Magistrate said wheat harvested at night had higher moisture content due to dew. As wheat with higher moisture content was not procured by government agencies in the market, it caused resentment among farmers, leading to law and order problem and farmers faced problems selling their produce in the mandi.

Hence, harvesting of wheat had been banned at night under Section 144 of the CrPC.

Anybody found using harvesters at night would be dealt with strongly as per law, he stated.



Bus terminal to be named after Lala Lajpat Rai

Jagraon, April 5
Finally the Jagraon Bus terminal will be named after Shaheed Lala Lajpat Rai. Transport minister Master Mohan, when arrived at Jagraon to take part in the golden Jubilee celebration of LR DAV college on January 28, promised to name the bus stand after the name of Lala Ji. After completing the due formalities, the work on establishing a statue of Lala Lajpat Rai near the entrance of the bus stand, besides, renaming it, had started on March 10 with a set target to complete the construction work by April 10.

But working ahead of the scheduled time, the construction is nearly complete and the formal inauguration of the “Lala Lajpat Rai Bus Terminal Jagraon” is now scheduled for April 6. — OC



Man held with contraband medicines
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur Dakha, April 5
The Dakha police has nabbed Harbans Singh, alias Kala of Pabbian village, with eight bottles of Rexcof, a habit forming cough syrup, and 200 grams of smack like substance yesterday.

Mulkhtiar Singh, in charge of Chowkiman police picket, said Harbans Singh was nabbed from the village outskirts along with the contraband medicines. A case under Sections 22, 61 and 85 has been registered against the accused.



4 held for taking away tractor
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 5
A case of tractor snatching was solved after four accused were arrested from Thakarwal village last night. The accused, identified as Gagagdeep Singh, Gurjinder Singh, alias Titu, Kulwinder Singh, alias Vicky and Kuljinder Singh, were held for forcibly taking away a tractor from Gurpreet Singh on April 3. Jugraj Singh, another accused, is still at large.

The incident took place at around 7 am on April 3 when Gurpreet was on his way on a tractor, which belongs to coloniser Tarsem Singh, a resident of Crown Town Colony, Singla Enclave.

The assailants assaulted Gurpreet, took the vehicle and fled from the spot. Nakas were put up at crucial points to nab the culprits.

A case under Section 382 of the IPC was registered at the Sadar police station today.



Three booked for fraud
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, April 5
The Sidhwan Bet police yesterday booked a person for creating a fake agreement in his favour, along with two witnesses to the agreement. Surjit Singh, in his complaint to Ludhiana SSP Harinder Singh Chahal on December 29 last year, stated that Ravinder Singh of Nurpur Bet village, along with fellow villagers Jagroop Singh and Gulab Singh got a fake agreement of sale regarding 18 kanal 7 marle plot at Walipur Kalan in his favour.

It was also stated that Ravinder Singh got the signature of his brother Bhagwan Singh on the agreement when he was unconscious due to over dose of liquor on 18 August 2008.

In the agreement it was stated that Bhagwan Singh had received Rs 8.5 lakh from Ravinder Singh. The accused had waited till the death of his brother and after his death claimed the possession of land.

SSP Jagraon entrusted SHO Humbran, Jaswinder Singh to inquire the matter, who found the allegations levelled by Surjit true. After consultation with DA Legal, SSP Harinder Singh Chahal ordered a case to be registered against the three accused.

The police booked the accused under Section 420 of the IPC. No arrest has been made so far.

Meanwhile, Ravinder blamed relatives of Bhagwan for not honouring the agreement made by the deceased.



Youth commits suicide
Our Correspondent

Raikot, April 5
Dharminder Singh, alias Pinder (25), a carpenter, committed suicide by consuming some poisonous substance here yesterday. Dharminder had left the house on his motorcycle (PB-50-T-CA-0804) following a minor altercation with the family yesterday. His youngest brother was going to get married yesterday and, instead, of going with the marriage party, he went to some undisclosed location.

At around 4 pm, a domestic servant of Jaspal Singh of Raikot, who had gone to the fields situated at the Siloani road, saw a youth lying unconscious.

His motorcycle was parked nearby and a can of deadly anti-termite medicine was lying beside him.

He immediately informed his master of the incident, who recognised the deceased.

He informed the police and family of the deceased about the incident. The police sent the body for a post mortem and proceeded under Section 174 of the CrPC on the statement of the father of the deceased.



Campaign brawl leaves cop dead
Rakesh Gupta

Jagraon, April 5
A minor altercation among two groups turned into a fatal brawl that ended with the death of a policeman at Chowkiman village, near here, last night. During the last panchayat elections, the village witnessed a fierce contest between two groups, both belonging to the Akali party.

Both groups were now campaigning for the cooperative society election and wanted to show their strength. While campaigning, the groups confronted each other and a fight broke out. It led to an armed conflict that ended in Harvinder Singh getting shot and five persons sustaining injuries.

The incident occurred after 9 pm, when Iqbal Singh, husband of sarpanch Kuldeep Kaur, along with his brother panch Harjeet Singh, sons Gurjot Singh and Honey and nephew Jaskaran Singh challenged Harinder Singh, his cousin Amberdeep Singh and nephew panch Jaswinder Singh. This led to a brawl and supporters of both parties attacked one another with blunt and sharp-edged weapons. Later, supporters of the Iqbal Singh group opened fire. Harvinder Singh and Amberdeep Singh were injured and brought to hospital, where Harvinder died.

The police has registered a case under Sections 302, 307, 323, 148 and 149, IPC, and Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act, against Kuldeep Kaur, Iqbal Singh, Gurjot Singh, Honey, Harjeet Singh, Jaskaran Singh, Malkait Singh and Jagjit Singh of Kular village on the statement of Jagmail Singh, father of the deceased.

He stated that Harvinder Singh and Amberdeep had gone to the village doctor for the treatment of his daughter. When they were returning, Iqbal Singh and his accomplices tried to stop them, but they managed to escape, leaving their car behind.

Later when they thought is was peaceful, they returned to get their car. They were again attacked by the accused with weapons and later shooting took place.

Though the Dakha SHO did not confirm any arrest, the SSP Ludhiana Rural, Harinder Singh Chahal, said five of the accused, along with the murder weapon, had been arrested.

The remaining three were under police observation at the Civil Hospital, Jagraon, and would be arrested after they were discharged from the hospital.

Later in the evening today, Harvinder Singh was cremated at the village.



World Cup Kabaddi
Guru Nanak Stadium gets facelift
Anil Datt

Ludhiana, April 5
With a week to go for the final of the ongoing first edition of the World Cup Kabaddi, which is slated to be held here on April 12, the venue, Guru Nanak Stadium, is being spruced up for the mega event.

Punjab sports department officials with the help of Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana, have been working round the clock to prepare the stadium and to put things in place well before the scheduled date.

During a visit to the stadium yesterday, it was found that workers were busy to give a facelift to this state-of-the-art structure. Repair work was being carried out in all enclosures with men doing whitewash and paint.

District sports official (DSO) Jagir Nahar, Ludhiana, told The Tribune that broken chairs in the south-west enclosure would be removed and those damaged in the VIP gallery numbering around 250 would be replaced with the new ones.

“As the final match, besides a cultural programme during the concluding ceremony is scheduled to be held under floodlights, all electric towers are being checked and the required repairs will be done before April 12,” said the DSO.

Meanwhile, the security has been beefed up in and around the city in the wake of this mega event, as Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal along with other VIPs are expected to be present here on April 12.

Senior police officials were seen making rounds of Guru Nanak Sports complex and buildings in the nearby area to chalk out security arrangements for the meet.



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