L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Kiran Bedi’s denial stumps police, office-bearers
NGO’s claim on roping in super cop
Rakesh Gupta

Jagraon, April 23
Using the name of former super cop Kiran Bedi as the office-bearer of an NGO has landed the district police as well as authorities of the organisation in an embarrassing situation, with Bedi clarifying that she has nothing to do with them.

The NGO, Anti-Corruption Crime Prevention-Community Oriented Policing Society (ACCP COPS), had during its fourth annual function invited prominent police and administrative officials of the district.

The function was widely publicised through hoardings, carrying Kiran Bedi’s picture, all over the town. However, they failed to realise that it would soon turn into a major embarrassment for them.

Bedi, who was claimed to be the Delhi state president of the organisation, when contacted, denied any involvement with the NGO.

Police top brass, including DIG (Ludhiana range) Dr Jatinder Jain, SP (Headquarters) Gurpreet Singh Toor, DSPs and SHOs of the Ludhiana rural police, besides Ludhiana ADC Kuldeep Singh, SDM Mukand Singh, were present at the ceremony.

NGO’s office-bearer Varinder Singh Sant, however, maintained that Deepak, another member of the NGO, had roped in Kiran Bedi to be their member and negotiations were on to make her their Delhi president.

He confessed to having published her photograph on the hoardings, expecting that the negotiations would have been completed by then.

Jagraon SSP Harinder Singh Chahal, however, dismissed his involvement in the functioning of the NGO.

He said, “We were invited by the NGO and believing in their claims to be in social service went there but we have nothing to do with it.” NGO’s state president Sulakshan Garg and general secretary Rajesh Jain (both from Jagraon) had planned for the annual day of the NGO in a big way and decided to honour the SSP for his “Jago Campaign” against drugs and Ludhiana zila parishad chairman Manpreet Singh Ayali for his initiative to recharge the underground water table through the renovation of village ponds campaign.


2 hurt in clash over demolition
Charu Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 23
Two people were injured in a clash that broke out today between residents of the city’s Haibowal locality and activists of a labour union over the issue of demolition of an encroachment in the area. The police had to use mild force to disperse protestors who later blocked traffic for over an hour.

The problem began around noon when a large crowd of labourers belonging to the Punjab Nirman Majdoor Union gathered at Chhoti Haibowal to protest against the demolition of parts of the house belonging to union member Ram Dinkar Chauhan by the municipal corporation.

The crowd, led by Hari Singh Sahni, was protesting against MC officials whom they accused of “singling out” Chauhan's house as an illegal structure and demolishing a sizable part.

"The fact is that most of the houses in the area have encroached upon MC land," claimed Chauhan, adding though the civic body had marked about ten houses in the area as encroachments it demolished only his house, built on 30 square yards.

He alleged the MC had demolished parts of his house thrice during the past ten days “at the behest” of Randhir Singh Dheera, an area resident and member of the opposing party, the CPI.

"About a month ago Dheera had barged into my house and abused my wife but no case was registered in spite of filing a complaint with the police," Chauhan said. “When I asked the cops to intervene I was snubbed by the police commissioner”, he added.

Sahni said members of his union today decided to hold a protest against “police inaction” in the matter. "We were protesting peacefully when the police came and beat us up," he added.

Sahni also alleged when the union members were protesting two of Dheera's men came and molested a woman member. “When the others intervened the two men, Kala and Vicky, began fighting with each other. In the ensuing clash Kala and Vicky were injured," he stated.

The injured men said they “only wanted to cross the street” and were beaten up in the process.

Meanwhile, the police denied having cane charged the protestors. "There was no ‘lathi’ charge. Our team went to the scene and pacified the crowds and dispersed them," said SHO Sukhwinder Kaur, in charge of the PAU police station.

She added no case was registered after the incident. "The protestors blocked vehicular traffic and thrashed two men, who were injured. If at all any case is filed it should be against the protestors who caused inconvenience to commuters," she added.

Meanwhile, the injured were admitted to the Civil Hospital here.



Unbundling: Confusion prevails as PSEB is now PSPC
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, April 23
Post unbundling, the erstwhile Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has been replaced with Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPC)-a company wholly owned by the state government, entrusted with the task of power generation and distribution.

Even though the administrative set up and infrastructure of the public utility company remains the same as the now defunct the PSEB, the change has led to confusion among the people as far as the payment of energy bills is concerned. Despite the fact that newspapers advertisements have been published and signboards put up at bill collection centres that cheques and bank drafts will be accepted in the name of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPC), still a large number of consumers keep coming with bank instruments made out in the name of the PSEB.

While those opting to make cash payment of the energy bills face no problem, scores of customers, or their messengers, coming to the cash counters of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited for making payments of bills through cheques or bank drafts are facing hardship.

For the time being, the staff manning the cash counters has been directed to accept the cheques or bank drafts issued in favour of the PSEB on selective basis, especially in such cases where these have been issued by head offices or regional offices of the companies. At the same time, the consumers are being asked to make out cheques in the name of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited in future.

There are reports that at several cash counters of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited in different parts of the city, consumers or their messengers, standing in the queues to pay their energy bills, had exchange of words and heated arguments when asked to make out fresh cheques in the name of the new company. Many others expressed their inability on different grounds and pleaded for acceptance of bank instruments drawn in favour of the PSEB.

An employees of the City Central division of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited disclosed that till now consumers were putting cheques in the name of the PSEB in the drop box kept at the cash counter, and for the time being such cheques are being accepted because in the wake of sudden change in the title of bank accounts of the erstwhile PSEB, the banks are extending cooperation.

Senior executive engineer, City West division of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited Pradeep Gupta said till now the banks were accepting cheques issued in the name of the PSEB, and the staff at cash counters had also been directed not to refuse such bank instruments in cases where the consumers were not able to make out fresh cheques.



Ishmeet Academy
Rs 10-cr project handed over to GLADA
Kuldip Bhatia


Ludhiana, April 23
The process for constructing Ishmeet Music Academy on 2.10 acre in the Rajguru Nagar locality here has been set in motion with the state government finally entrusted the responsibility for the execution of the Rs 10-crore project to the Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA).

As per the directions of the Punjab government, the Ludhiana Improvement Trust has already transferred the land free of cost for the proposed music academy in memory of Ishmeet Singh, to Cultural Affairs department. The project was earlier handed over to the Public Works department (PWD), which in turn had invited tenders and initial construction work at a cost of Rs 3.42 crore stands allotted.

At a meeting convened by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal a proposal for the reconstitution of the board of trustees of the music academy was also approved. The deputy commissioner, commissioner of Municipal Corporation and the LIT chairman along with the director of the Cultural Affairs Department were included in the board of management. The board of trustees will also have Dr Charan Kamal Singh, uncle of deceased singer Ishmeet, as a life member while two other members will be nominated by the department of Cultural Affairs, Punjab.

Even though the final drawings were yet to be approved by the Chief Town Planner, Punjab, it was learnt that ground coverage would be approximately 1,750 square yards in the basement plus two floors of the building.

The academy will have an exhibition gallery, auditorium, amphitheatre, library, administrative complex, canteen and a water body all around. A proposal for further extension of the academy with a hostel and other facilities required for the students is yet to be approved.



Endless wait for farmers
Mandis filled to the brim 
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Kila Raipur, April 23
Even as the state government claims to have a fast procurement process, farmers in several mandis of the district are dejected as they have been waiting for the past several days for their produce to be lifted.

As grain markets in the district are filled to the brim with wheat produce owing to delay in lifting, the farmers say they have no place to stock the produce. Hence, they are forced to wait.

The worst hit are the farmers in rural areas where they have been waiting for at least a week and are losing patience. A Tribune team went around several mandis and found that the farmers were agitated. They had brought in their produce, but it was not beng procured as there was no place in the mandis.

The problem was more grave at the Kila Raipur mandi where farmers have been waiting for the past 10 days for procurement.

Mohinder Singh, a farmer from Kila Raipur, said he had been waiting for the past week, but nobody was procuring the produce. “They think farmers are stupid to produce wheat for the entire country. What I nurtured with great care has been thrown on a kutcha yard as the pucca one is filled to the brim. It would get mixed with mud and they would then raise objections,” he stated.

Another farmer, Jatinder Pal of Lohgarh village, said he had been waiting for five days. “I have been urging them, but nobody is bothered,” he said.

The situation took an ugly turn when a Markfed official reached the mandi and the farmers started arguing with him over the delay.

The senior branch officer of Markfed, Darshan Kumar, said due to the sudden rise in mercury, a lot of wheat came to the mandis suddenly and in plenty. “In this mandi alone, the average last year was 5,000 sacks everyday, but this year it is nearly 16,000 sacks,” he stated.

Jodhan, Jagera, Dehlon and Pakhowal mandis also seem to be facing the problem of plenty.




Markets face wheat glut due to no goods trains
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 23
Unavailability of freight trains for transporting foodgrains from Punjab to other states has emerged as a major impediment in smooth procurement of the wheat crop, with has glutted grain markets in this region.

Expressing their inability to provide figures on the difference in indent and deployment of special goods trains, Indian Railways officials in Ambala maintained they were making efforts to allocate trains for various loading centres according to need and availability of the carrier.

Investigations by The Tribune revealed unavailability of freight trains was severely limiting the process of lifting wheat from the grain markets in Sangrur and Ludhiana districts.

After Food Corp of India officials failed to persuade the railways to make available the required number of special goods trains, administrative officers are now using their clout to convince the railway authorities of the gravity of the situation.

“Though we’ve been able to motivate truck operators in our area to give priority to lifting the grain, the situation is viewed differently by the railway authorities, the obvious reason being the administrative communication gap. It was only after persistent efforts lasting a week that we could get one special goods train for shifting wheat procured by FCI” said Gurlovleen Sidhu.

FCI officials were learnt to have requisitioned at least three special freight trains for the purpose.

Investigations further revealed about one-half of the procured wheat was yet to be lifted. In Sangrur district only, where the situation is somewhat better than in other areas, only 499,885 metric tones of wheat out of the total 838,496 mt procured was lifted by today.

When contacted on phone, a railways official in Ambala expressed his inability to give details about goods trains requisitioned and deployed. However, he maintained the railways were trying their best to deploy special trains according to requirement and availability of the carriers.

“We’re receiving indents for hundreds of goods trains every day, but we can deploy only those trains which are available with us,” he said.



Caterer wants sample checked again
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 23
After the department of health registered a case under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act against a catering company that runs the mess of SPS Apollo Hospital here, the company has appealed in court to get the dal samples checked from another government laboratory.

The hospital authorities had stated that the catering company was procuring raw material from a Chandigarh-based distributor, Sri Krishna Enterprises (which has been made party in the case), and the distributor had assured that the material was of good quality.

Satinder, owner of Sri Krishna Enterprises, talking to The Tribune, said this was the first time that his samples had failed. “I supply raw material to various hospitals in Chandigarh and Delhi, but have never received any complaint. Everything depends on the verdict of the court as I have forwarded an appeal that the samples be checked again at another government laboratory,” he said.

The hospital authorities said they would take action after the court’s verdict. They said steps would be taken to safeguard the interests of people undergoing treatment at the hospital.



Construction work of govt polytechnic college stalled
Gurminder Singh Grewal

Khamano April 23
The work to construct Government Polytechnic College at Ranwan village near here has failed to take off even after the foundation stone was laid three months back by the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Badal had laid the foundation stone of this college on January 27 2010 and had assured that the work would resume immediately. Now, about three months have passed but yet the construction work has not begun.

People of the area have questioned the sincerity of the Chief Minister and the officials concerned and they feel it is more of a poll stunt. They feel ignored by the government. The villagers were happy when the foundation stone of the college was laid.

When Xen of the PWD Department was contacted he said that the tenders had been floated for this purpose as the material had reached the site and the work would start very soon.

When the chairperson of the District Planning Committee was contacted in this regard she said that money meant for the college had been allotted and due to some technical problems the work could not start on time and the problem will be solved in a few days time.



160 pets vaccinated to mark World Veterinary Day
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 23
Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Ludhiana, today celebrated the World Veterinary Day.

The department of teaching veterinary clinical complex organised a free anti-rabies vaccination and de-worming camp for pet animals.

During the camp, 60 dogs were vaccinated against rabies and 100 dogs were de-wormed free of cost.

Dr Simrat Sagar Singh, dean, College of Veterinary Science, inaugurated the camp. He said risk of contracting rabies depends upon the virus content of saliva, severity of the bite, etc. Rabies is one of the most important zoonotic diseases in India. It is acute, progressive, incurable viral encephalitis with a fatal outcome, which is transmitted through injection of infectious saliva into a broken skin mainly through animal bite, licking of scratches, abrasions, and open wounds or intact mucous membrane, etc.

Dr Sushil Prabhakar, professor and head, department of teaching veterinary clinical complex, confirmed the camp to be successful.

Pharmaceutical companies also participated. A lecture was delivered on "Role of Veterinary Medicine in Health". The lecture was delivered by Dr Kirti Dua, professor and head, department of veterinary clinical medicine, ethics and jurisprudence.

The lecture highlighted that collaboration between human and animal doctors would lead to better management of many zoonotic and fatal diseases. 



Earth Day
Painting the planet green
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, April 23
“Go Green”, “Save Our Earth”, etc were the slogans that echoed the premises of Peace Public School Mullanpur as the school celebrated Earth Day yesterday with zeal.

It marked the beginning of a series of activities to be held throughout the week. Speech, poetry recitation, etc were part of the celebration.

A skit was also enacted by students to create awareness about how we were degrading our environment and the steps to make earth a better place to live were also enacted.

The school president Prof SC Jain and principal CK Jeeja also stressed upon the importance of a clean environment and gave tips on how to save the environment.

This function was followed by various competitions like poster-making competition, slogan-writing competition, and declamations, etc.

The message “save our earth to save our selves” was stressed.

Saint Mahapragaya, Jagraon, paid stressed on Global Warming. A total of 35 students of all the four houses took part in the seminar under the guidance of director Rajni Beri.

All speakers expressed their concerns, along with the suggestive remedies, on the environmental problems of the earth. School principal Reema Grover told students and teachers to plant more saplings.

Earth Day was celebrated at Government Senior Secondary School, Bhaini Dredan village, near Raikot. Principal Sarabjit Singh Toor said every one should contribute in dropping the underground water table and global warming. The students wowed to plant saplings. They also pledged to gift plants.

Students of Government School of Ramgarh Bhullar near here gave a call to the fellow students and their parents to make earth green and clean.

The students organised a rally lead by principal Jugraj Singh to express their views and passed through the village raising the slogans to save earth.

They carried banners and placards bearing massages to save environment and stop pollution. Master Sarabjit Singh, nodal officer of the Eco Club, said the government had sent a grant of Rs 2,500 each for 250 government schools of the district for planting and maintaining trees in the school. He said the greenest school of the district would be awarded Rs 10,000.

Mahant Laxman Das School of Talwandi Kalan near Mullanpur Dakha also celebrated the day under the guidance of principal Baldev Bawa. Bawa said the rising pollution and temperature was a matter of concern. He said steps should be taken to save the planet. He said deforestation, usage of chemicals, fertilisers and insecticides/pesticides, is adding to the problem.



PAU VC, too, plants sapling
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 23
Punjab Agricultural University Vice-Chancellor Dr MS Kang today planted a sapling of a heritage tree-Karonda to mark the Earth Day at MS Swaminathan Heritage Tree Park on the campus here yesterday.

At the initiative of Nature's Tree Organisation, another sapling of heritage tree Suhanjna was planted by a foreign scientist of Indan origin Dr BS Ahluwalia.

Balwinder Singh of Nature's Tree Foundation said they were saving heritage trees in the state. With the collaboration of the PAU they had setup Swaminathan Park on the campus.



Students told to save water
Our Correspondent

Doraha, April 23
Green Grove Public School celebrated Earth Day with great enthusiasm and vigour.

Students, through speeches and poems, tried to exhibit that the earth was the only living and breathing planet. Aastha of XI and Jaskiran of class IX, in their English and Hindi speeches respectively, said that the earth is the mother, so we should love it and try to preserve it at all costs. Komalpreet and Prabhnoor of class IV A, through their English poems, said that the Indian environment was vulnerable to serious decay and we should work for its preservation through concerted efforts.

Students of class VIII watered the plants in the campus and raised slogan to save the planet. Patwant of class IV B gave his views to save the planet from disintegrating. With the help of slides, Avreen of XI expressed her concern on ‘Water Crisis- Problems and Remedies’. She highlighted the remedies and appealed to the students to save every drop of precious water if one had to lead a healthy and comfortable life in future.

Students were shown a documentary film on global warning and its effects. They also enjoyed a cartoon show on the green house effect. Sukhpal Singh of XII, through his powerpoint presentation on global warming, appealed to the students to save the earth. The students of Eco club, under the guidance of their in charge planted various trees and plants on the school campus. — TNS



Power shortage hits crop diversification plans
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, April 23
The Punjab as well the Central governments are spending crores on propagating crop diversification so that the farmers gets rich returns besides stopping the traditional pattern of cultivating the crops as it demands more water. Recently, it has been proved that the crop diversification are really a blessing in disguise for the farmers as they could get good returns even from their small holdings but these crops demand more care.

The agriculture department has successfully convinced the farmers for diversified cultivation and as a result presently there are nine mentha poperita oil extractions plants alone in the Jagraon belt (Jagraon, Raikot, Mullanpur Dakha) of Ludhiana Rural. Farmers have planted the crop of Mentha Poperita in more than 10,000 acres. Besides this Moong pulse is cultivated in more than 9,000 acres, 4,000 acre sunflower, maize and fodder and vegetable is cultivated in the small holdings measuring thousands of acre.

Now these farmers are feeling cheated as their crop is drying up due to the acute shortage of power and that of irrigation water. Villages like Sarabha, Chaminda, Abbuwal and others had not got electricity supply for even a minute during the last fortnight.

The villagers rued that even though they had apprised the PSEB, agriculture department, district administrations and the Punjab government of the problems but none was willing to pay heed to their problem. Each time they approached them, they just dismissed their problem stating that the situation will improve soon.

A number of farmers of Mullanpur Dakha, Raikot and Jagraon have requested the state government to intervene and end their tale of woes. They said under the present circumstances they were left with no substitute other than ploughing their fields again. 



Sahit Akademi Poll
Candidates seek vote in panels’ favour 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 23
Campaigning in the favour of their respective groups, the candidates contesting for the post of the president of the Punjabi Sahit Akademi today urged the members to vote in favour of the candidates of their respective panels.

Gurbhajan Singh Gill, who is contesting for the post of the president, urged the members to vote in his favour.

Gill stated that despite his repeated attempts to unanimously elect Dr Surjit Patar as the new president, he has failed to convince other candidates to sit in his favour. “As a result, I have come forward to offer my services for the promotion of Punjabi as a language and culture,” he added.

Whereas, Dr S Tarsem called upon the members to support him keeping in mind his contribution towards the promotion of the Punjabi language. He also advocated in favour of Harbhajan Singh Hundal and Dr Sukhdev Singh contesting for the post of the senior vice-president and general secretary, respectively.

Dr Surjit Patar today announced his unequivocal support in favour of Gurbhajan Singh Gill, Sukhjit and Jaswant Zafar. The team will provide a good administration and take the akademi to new heights, he added. 



Steel: Import parity behind price hike
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 23
Fixing the price of steel on import parity basis has led to a consistent increase in its prices. Consequently, country’s steel users have been paying over $ 100 per m tonne extra compared to the global price.

India’s steel producers base their price on import parity basis by adding ocean freight and other margins to the global price.

Since ocean freight is also increasing, this difference will also increase. Its prices are increasing, despite the availability of raw material and labour at much cheaper rates compared to others.

Steel users in Punjab and elsewhere have been severely affected by the irrational prices.

Steel producers are operating like a cartel while the government seems to be helpless.

The steel prices in the current calendar year have already gone up by over Rs 5,000 per metric tonne. It is a general pattern for major steel producers in the country to raise the prices in a cartelised manner.

“The standard principle is to calculate the price of any product on the basis of its production cost. In case of steel, it is being fixed on the import parity basis,” said PD Sharma, president, Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 



Commissionerate System
Police functioning streamlined, yet challenges ahead 
KS Chawla

Ludhiana, April 23
The transition to the police commissionerate system in the city has been completed smoothly within a month’s time. The Punjab government had introduced the system in three major cities-Ludhiana, Amritsar and Jalandhar-on March 5 through a notification. However, it actually began functioning from March 14 onwards with the posting of three police commissioners.

Ludhiana, being the state’s biggest city, has 27 police stations under the police commissioner while Amritsar and Jalandhar have 14 police stations each.

With the introduction of a police commissionerate in the three major cities, residents are anticipating improvement in the crime situation. Many of them even think that things will improve overnight.

Ludhiana police commissioner Ishwar Singh has been working overtime to come up to the expectations of the city residents. He has the added advantage of knowing the city well, having served as the Ludhiana DIG for about two years.

Ishwar is being assisted by a DCP along with five ADCPs and 12 ACPs.

In order to ensure smooth functioning of the new system, the police commissioner has moved out all additional deputy commissioners to their respective areas of control. This will provide easy access to people for redressal of their grievances.

Earlier, during the tenure of the senior superintendent of police, all senior officers used to sit in the police headquarters. This led to the office becoming congested besides causing major inconvenience to people who came from distant places to the SSP’s office to file complaints.

The office of the additional deputy commissioner I has been moved out to the office of the DIG, Ludhiana range, or what is known as the ‘old SSP office’ adjacent to the old judicial courts complex. The ACPs attached to him will also sit in this office.

Similarly, the ADCP II and III have been shifted to Sherpur Chowk and Sarabha Nagar, respectively, along with the ACPs. The ADCP (headquarters) and ADCP (crime) will sit in the main office.

Ishwar told The Tribune that the police force had been activated and evening patrolling (from 6 pm to 10 pm) intensified in the city. These are very busy hours during which the city witnesses traffic jams as also more crime.

With the introduction of the new system, the police commissioner and deputy police commissioner have been given the powers of special magistrates. Pramod Ban, who is the DCP, has been assigned the work of the court and his court has been set up in the judicial courts complex. This has been done to facilitate the legal fraternity too and so that lawyers do not have to run to police office or at a distant place to plead for the legal cases.

The police commissioner and the deputy commissioner have also been given powers to deal with cases under section 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 120, 122, 124 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

The PCR (police control room) network, which had of late become stagnant, has also been activated. Many of the 98 PCR motorbikes have become obsolete.

The city police also suffers due to a lack of an adequate transport fleet. The police commissioner has written to the government for replacement of the fleet and is confident of getting some new vehicles soon.

Ishwar also hopes the police department will receive funds for upgrading infrastructure including construction of new police station buildings. Though the state government has sanctioned seven new police stations there is a shortage of land for their location.

However, the department’s biggest requirement as of now is to strengthen the police force. The city has grown out of proportion and the strength of the force has remained static, even decreased, from the time of militancy and needs at least 5,000 cops to control crime.

“We will be getting some 200 trained commandos and the police force is likely to be expanded with the fresh recruitment that is currently going on at various places in the state”, Ishwar said.

The city also faces the uphill task of easing the worsening traffic jams that have become the order of the day. The traffic police also needs to be strengthened.

Incidents of snatching, car lifting and robberies in the city’s industrial areas continue to plague residents. Ishwar maintains the rise in murder cases in the city is not due to any ‘gang wars’. “These (murders) are mostly taking place due to matrimonial discord or illicit relationships and the police have busted almost all the cases”, he stated.

The police commissioner has asked the police officials concerned to set up beat boxes at all important ‘chowks’ (intersections), which would function round the clock. This would help in catching criminals, he said. Similarly the police’s half a dozen ambulances would be stationed at busy places like Samrala Chowk, Jagraon Bridge, Bhai Bala Chowk, Jalandhar Bypass and Gill Chowk.

“The traffic police has been asked to be strict against the use of mobile phones while driving, drunken driving, use of black solar films on car windowpanes and red beacon lights atop vehicles. No ‘sifarish’ (using influence) would be entertained in these cases”, the police commissioner asserted.



Principal Secy makes surprise visit to Raikot grain market
Our Correspondent

Raikot, April 23
Darbara Singh Guru, Principal Secretary of Punjab, last evening paid a surprise visit at Raikot grain market to take stock of the situation of wheat procurement, lifting and the payment being made by the procuring agencies.

Officials of Jagraon and Mullanpur Dakha Grain markets were on their toes as his visit was planned, but he took them by surprise at Raikot along with Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tewari.

Visibly upset over the slow speed of lifting of procured wheat and the tall stacks of wheat bags, he strictly instructed the lifting contractors to step up the speed of lifting. He informally chatted with some formers to know about the problems they were facing in the grain market but he did not find any problem in the operations of the market committee officials.

Regarding payments, he said, the Punjab government had made all arrangements to make the payments to the commission agents within 48 hours after the purchase and the Deputy Commissioners has been entrusted to look after the process of smooth and fast lifting of procured wheat and in case they faced any problems in lifting, they were authorised to make alternative arrangement.

Regarding the rampant fire incidents, Guru said Rs. 5,000 was to be paid by the authorities concerned per acre in case of fire in wheat crop fields. “If the cause of the fire is the sparking of over-head wires of the PSEB then the payment will be made by the PSEB but if the cause is some thing else then the Revenue Department will be making the compensation payment to the farmers” he added. He however maintained that there was no provision of compensation of wheat straws.

Dharampal Singh Andlu, chairman, Raikot Market Committee, demanded a fire tender at Raikot, Guru asked Tewari to give a requisition in this regard and gave assurance that their request would be looked into seriously.

District Food Controller Rakesh Bhashkar, Raikot acting SDM Abhinav Trikha and DM of mandi board Rajpal Singh had also accompanied the Principal Secretary and inspectors of various procuring agencies and many of the commission agents were present there. 



‘Don’t put govt staff on census duty’

Ludhiana, April 23
The Joint Council of Trade Unions (JCTU) has taken exception to the deployment of serving government employees on census operations.

In a statement here today, JCTU general secretary DP Maur sought separate staff to carry out the census and other works like revision of electoral rolls. “Deployment of teachers, health staff and other government employees affects work in their respective departments,” he said.

Instead of using serving employees for census, the government should either create a wing of separate full-time regular staff or employ those registered with the employment exchange and are jobless.

Similarly, the supervisory work for census operations could be assigned to retired government employees and officials and serving staff should be spared from such duties. — OC



Man, driver go missing
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 23
A resident of Basant Nagar, Daresi, went missing here yesterday. Hakikat Rai, a goldsmith, had gone to Chandigarh last morning with his driver, Kakku, in his white Indigo car. At around 3 pm, he called up his brother, Pratap Rai, to inform that he was returning home.

However, when they did not return home even after several hours, the family lodged a complaint with the police.

His brother told the police that on earlier occasions, too, he had “vanished” from home, but had eventually returned on his own. The SHO said a missing report was lodged yesterday.



Nehru Yuva award for Grewal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 23
Karamjeet Singh Grewal, president, Bahurang Sabhayacharak Club, Lalton Kalan, received the Nehru Yuva Kendra Award. Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tiwari presented the award to him.

Grewal said they had set up a small library at their club which houses nearly 1600 books. The library is attached with Punjabi Sahit Sabha, New Delhi, he added.

“The club has at least 25 members and the library is open not only for them but anybody from the village can come and borrow the books,” said Grewal.

In addition to the library the club also has a weightlifting club. Boys regularly visit the club in the morning and evening for weightlifting session.

In addition to this the club is also holding street plays on AIDS awareness, drug abuse and female foeticide. “I myself have written 10 plays and we stage them from time to time to create awareness among the masses on different social issues.

On the Earth Day, the club staged a play informing the viewers to save the precious mother earth. Another most popular play of the group is “Sone do chiri” which depicts India, before and after Independence. 



Fire at ADCP’s office
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 23
Important records were reduced to ashes when a fire broke out in Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police Harsh's Bansal's office here near the Crime Against Women Cell here today.

The fire was suspected to be the handiwork of a miscreant as a window pane of his office was broken.

The fire was noticed after residents saw smoke coming out of the windows of the ADCP’s office.

Fire brigade was informed about the incident, but it was doused by the residents before the fire tenders reached there.

Fire men said it could be a short circuit but there was no evidence of the same.

ACP Bhupinder Sing, Nodal Officer, said a case had been registered against the unknown miscreants. 



Ravneet best in qawwali
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 23
Inter-club dance competition "Mughal-e-Azam" was organised by Sarabha Ladies Club here yesterday. Quawali was the theme of the day.

Ravneet Kaur of Gayatri Ladies Club managed to clinch the first position. She performed on "Suno-suno, chilman uthegi". Second prize went to Rupali from Geetanjali Ladies Club, who performed on "Salam-e-ishq", while the third prize went to Bawa from Arsee Ladies Club. She danced to the tunes of "Maula mere maula".

The competition was made more interesting by qawwali antakshari.



3-yr-old child charred to death

Samrala, April 23
A three-year-old child and five goats were charred to death when fire broke out in jhuggis of labourers at Kakrala Khurd, near here, last night. Most families had gone for work when the incident occurred and only about 15 children between ages two and 12 years were present in the jhuggis.

The fire began in a jhuggi and soon spread to other jhuggis.

A girl noticed the fire and tried to help the children and animals get out. She succeeded in saving the other children, but by the time she noticed Dharmvir, he had already sustained burns.

In the meantime, villagers reached there and helped in the rescue operation. The child was taken to the Civil Hospital, but was referred to Ludhiana, where he succumbed to his burns.

Another two-year-old child who sustained burns is out of danger. — TNS



Cyclist injured

Khanna, April 23
A resident of Khanna got injured in an accident yesterday. The injured, Om Dutt, a resident of Khanna, was on his way towards Khanna town when a speeding scooter hit him.

He was rushed to the local civil hospital by some passerby’s and was then referred to DMC, Ludhiana. A case in this connection has been registered against the scooterist, who has been identified as Balwinder Singh of Bhattian village. — TNS



Woman caught selling psychotropic drugs
Our Correspondent

Raikot, April 23
For the first time, a woman running a drug store has been nabbed and huge quantity of psychotropic medicines seized from her possession. In charge of the Jalaldiwal police post, under the Raikot police station, sent a decoy customer to Guru Nanak Medical store at the Barnala Bypass Chowk to buy habit-forming drugs.

Rachhpal Kaur, who runs the drug store, handed over two bottles of Rexcof and 600 tablets of Momotil worth Rs 500 to decoy customer Balwinder Singh.

On being tipped off a police team raided the drug store and recovered 90,600 tablets, 790 capsules and 90 bottles of Rexcof. On being questioned she failed to produce valid documents of the stock lying in her shop.

A case under the NDPS Act has been registered against her. 



12 booked for beating man

Khanna, April 23
The police today booked 12 persons for beating up a resident of Khanna. In his complaint to the police, Gyan Singh alleged that Hardip Kaur, Jaskaran and 10 unidentified persons beat him up yesterday near his house. The accused after beating him up fled and left him injured.

Some neighbours rushed him to the hospital where he was treated of multiple injuries. The police officials investigating the matter said that a dispute over a piece of land was on for the past few months between both parties.

A case in this connection has been registered. — TNS



Truck driver booked

Khanna, April 23
The Khanna Police today booked a truck driver for parking his truck haphazardly on the main road near Lalohri Kalan village.

The driver was booked on the complaint of a police official deployed near the road to streamline traffic. Police officials said that the truck was loaded with iron bars, which also posed threat for the commuters. The cops said that a large number of accidents had been reported on the stretch due to wrong parking and loading of iron bars by the truckers. — TNS



Trader convicted in cheque bounce case
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 23
Businessman Rohit Kumar, owner of Vihavkarma Electronics, Mundian Kalan, has been sentenced to undergo imprisonment for a year in a cheque bounce case.

A special court also imposed a fine of Rs 3,000 on him.

The orders came on a complaint by Sunil Kumar Aggarwal, partner of M/s Aggarwal Electrovision. The complainant submitted before the court that the accused used to take electronics goods from them on credit basis and issued two cheques for Rs 16,450 and Rs 19,340, but these bounced.

A legal notice was served on him to make the payment within 15 days, but he failed 
to do so.

The court granted him interim bail for filing an appeal before the Sessions Court. 



TT tourney: Yashi bags cadet's title
Anil Datt

Ludhiana, April 23
Yashi of the host school overpowered her schoolmate Gurleen Kaur in straight sets to emerge champion in the girls’ cadet category on the opening day of the second edition of the Ludhiana Open Table Tennis Tournament being held at Alpine International Senior Secondary School, Civil Lines branch, here, today. Yashi outplayed Gurleen 11-5, 11-7 and 11-8 to romp home as victor.

In the semi finals, Yashi defeated Kanika, also of Alpine International School while Gurleen tamed Jasmeen of DAV School to set up the title clash.

Earlier, principal Anchit Dhir inaugurated the tournament in which around 200 participants drawn from different schools from across the district are participating.

First day's results: Sub junior boys singles'- Vivek of Alpine International School bt Vishal of GRD Academy; Parav of Sat Paul Mittal School bt Rahul Bhatia of DAV School; Harman of DAV School bt Harshul of GMT School; Sameer of Sat Paul Mittal School bt Agamjot of DAV School; Jashan of DAV School bt Rajan of Alpine International School; Ayush of Alpine International School bt Harpreet of GRD Academy; Jatin Aggarwal of Sat Paul Mittal School bt Sidhak of Ryan International School; Vinayak of Sat Paul Mittal School bt Brijesh of DAV School; Parivansh of DAV School bt Anubhav of GRD Academy and Sameer Brar of DAV School bt Nitish of Alpine International School.



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